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Information on Hospital Beds to be Published by the Government in Kannada Along with English: Karnataka HC

By Harshil Jain      17 July, 2020 11:07 AM      0 Comments
Hospital Beds to be Published by the Government

On Tuesday 14 July 2020, the Karnataka High Court ordered the state government of Karnataka and local authorities (Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP)) to ensure that the information on their website regarding real-time data of availability of beds in hospital and facilities and utilities for COVID-19 infected persons is bilingual i.e. available in Kannada language along with English.

The matter was heard by a division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Alok Aradhe. The bench said, “Give adequate publicity to data of available beds on the web page. Moreover, data available is only in English and not in Kannada language. The state will ensure that information is available in Kannada and adequate publicity is given to availability of data on the web page.”

The said petitions were filed by Advocate Geeta Misra and NGO Bharat Punartthana Trust. Along with this, a suo motu petition was also heard based on the letters written by Advocate P Anu Chengappa and Advocates Association of Bengaluru.

The following queries were put up by the Court:

  1. There is only one helpline having telephone number 1912. This telephone number 1912 is provided for BESCOM for receiving complaints of disruption of electric supply. In the monsoon time, more than 20,000 complaints are received on the said telephone number. The state must clarify how many dedicated lines are available to receive complaints of failure to get beds at hospitals on this number. As the proper working of this helpline is most crucial. “This is the only mode available for patients and their family to complain about non-availability of beds. The government must clarify immediately on this issue.”The test result is communicated to the concerned patient through SMS by laboratori8ies. After receiving a positive test report if a patient desires to get himself admitted in a private hospital whether any guidelines available which will enjoin the private hospital on showing SMS of a positive result to admit him. The state will have to consider directions to allow admission of patients to private hospitals on showing SMS of the positive result.
  2. The issue regarding those patients admitted on ordinary beds in the public facilities. The issue is when a patient is admitted to an ordinary bed and if he needs immediate transfer to ICU with/without a ventilator, what is the procedure of transferring, without loss of time.
  3. The written submission of capital BBMP indicates that 313 ambulances are available for transporting the persons who are tested positive. The stand of the state is that even 108 ambulances are available. The state must come out with the total number of ambulances available exclusively for transporting persons who tested positive, to hospitals or facilities.
  4. The state will also have to clarify if a large number of lines are available for 1912 helpline can a grievance be entertained of a patient on a normal bed who immediately requires to be shifted to ICU.
  5. Clarify whether an adequate number of doctors/para-medical staff are available to manage the hospital and so many facilities.
  6. A large number of public servants who are members of this staff of State government BBMP, Police department, various courts will be discharging their duties continuously even during the lockdown. Whether any special facilities are made available to this category of person in case they are required to be tested for various reasons such as becoming primary contacts. The government will also have to address this aspect.

Responding to the abovementioned queries, the State government laid down the following submission in writing before the Court:

  1. A patient who approaches a fever clinic is checked and if testing is necessary; he is directed to a testing center. A person can voluntarily also get himself tested at a private testing center.
  2. At the testing center, the swab is obtained, and testing is conducted. Time limits for the testing are as indicated above and can range from 12 to 48 hours.
  3. Once a person gives a swab test, he is instructed to self-quarantine until the test results are received.
  4. If a person shows symptoms even before the test, the test is conducted or the test results are received, the person is sent to a hospital awaiting the test results.
  5. Once a positive result is received, the ICMR portal is updated with the details and BBMP also receives the intimation of the result of the test.
  6. BBMP contacts the patient and visits the patient immediately. BBMP then determines if the patient should undergo home-quarantine or institutional quarantine. If the case is severe, then the patient may have to go to a hospital. Ambulances are used to transport the patient to the various centers.
  7. A patient can also undergo treatment at any private hospital. The rates for the same are clearly indicated.
  8. Helplines are available if the patient is denied treatment.

The software/web page, which provides real-time data on the availability of beds in hospitals, has been developed by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (or, BBMP) and Suvarna Arogya Suraksha Trust (SAST). The information can be accessed by visiting the following webpage: http://chbms.bbmpgov.in

The matter is next listed for hearing on Thursday 16 July 2020.

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