The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has stuck to its guns on its order asking labs to communicate Covid-19 positive results only to the civic body and not directly with patients, despite political rivals opposing the move.
Speaking to CNN-News18, Mumbai’s municipal commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal said the decision was taken to stop asymptomatic patients from occupying beds in Covid-19 facilities as well as in ICUs, which he said is against the guidelines issued by the Indian Council of Medical Research.
“We have taken control of 80 per cent hospital beds. But the walk in patients who don't need them are occupying these beds. This leaves deserving patients without beds. This move is aimed to take all control of total beds in private hospitals, so there is no delay in treatment," he said.
The BMC commissioner had issued on Saturday asked all laboratories to convey Covid-19 positive results only to the BMC, which would then convey the result to the patient.
"It was done with a dual purpose in mind. Firstly that our team of counsellors would talk to the patient because the news comes as a shock to many. Secondly, it will help in bed management," an official of the BMC said.
Opposition parties like BJP and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena have objected to the order, calling it 'absurd'.
"The patient has the right to know his result. I have written to the BMC commissioner," BJP leader Kirit Somaiyya said. MNS leader Nitin Sardesai too raised similar concerns, and said it went against the basic rights of the patients.
But Chahal maintained that it will stop the violation of ICMR guidelines, and said the move has been lauded by medical experts.
"Private hospitals are full of asymptomatic positive patients. And everybody wants to know where the beds have gone. Out of fear and anxiety, all positive patients rush to the hospitals and occupy these beds. The hospitals are happy to earn the money because these are as good as quarantine patients who don't need much treatment. This has to stop," he said.
When asked about the possibility of delays by the BMC in such a scenario, he said, "These days, labs are mandated to give results within 24 hours. Our teams call patients, visit and inspect them, and do allocation of bed by (next) morning itself.”