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Hit by Staff Crunch Amid Covid-19, Mumbai to Outsource ICU Services in Govt Jumbo Facilities to Pvt Bidders

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Mumbai, A healthcare worker collects a swab sample from a woman during a medical campaign for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Mumbai, India (REUTERS)

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Mumbai, A healthcare worker collects a swab sample from a woman during a medical campaign for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Mumbai, India (REUTERS)

The private bidders will have to provide their own doctors and staffers, while the BMC will provide the health care infrastructure including beds, medication, oxygen supply and ventilators.

Vinaya Deshpande
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In a first in the country, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will now outsource critical ICU services to private bidders as the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise in the city. Amid staff crunch, the civic body has allowed private entities to take over ICU beds at the jumbo facilities where they will have to provide their own doctors and staff members while BMC will provide the health care infrastructure including beds, medication, oxygen supply and ventilators.

BMC has decided to pay Rs 6000 to Rs 6,900 for each bed to the private bidders. This move will be beneficial for 2,000 ICU beds in the island city’s facilities.

“The decision has been taken to make sure that there is enough medical staff for the ICU beds. In the last few days, we have added ICU beds in many jumbo facilities. Now, if there is a rise in cases, we want these beds to be fully equipped along with the medical staff. We had invited bidders for this and we have got three now. The lowest bidder has been given the work order. Mumbai Municipal Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal said.

From today, patients will be admitted on these ICU beds beginning at the BKC facility, Chahal added. The private bidders will have to adhere to the Medical Council of India guidelines concerning the availability of staff for ICUs. They will also be monitored by the BMC hospitals’ deans.

So far, the work orders were issued at Bandra-Kurla Complex, Mulund, Nesco ground and Dahisar facilities. For each ICU bed at the BKC jumbo facility, the BMC will pay Rs 6000. It will pay Rs 6,400 for NESCO facility beds, Rs 6,900 for Mulund and Dahisar facilities’ beds.

The Expression of Interest issued by the BMC for this purpose stated, “In light of Covid -19 Pandemic, apart from strengthening and enhancing number of beds, both Oxygenated and ICU with ventilators at MCGM and Government hospitals, an ambitious plan to set up Dedicated COVID Hospital (DCH) in jumbo facilities within the city for Covid-19 treatment is taken up by MCGM. For operation and maintenance of ICU units of these Jumbo facility centres, entire clinical and non-clinical management of these ICU units along with Senior consultants, associate consultant, RMO Doctors, Nurses, technicians and ward boys/bed attendants are required to be out-sourced for providing medical services.”

The work orders have been issued for six months or till the spread of Covid19 pandemic, whichever is earlier.

For better management of the facility, the ICU beds are arranged into units consisting of up to 10 beds and MCGM expects each unit of 10 beds shall have the following team of health care professionals to manage ICU round the clock, a BMC spokesperson said.

“One Sr. Consultant, One Associate Doctor, Six RMO Doctors, Ten Nurses, Eight Ward boys/patient care attendants / Multipurpose workers, Two technicians. However, actual requirement of these professionals/staff will be assessed by the service providers and shall be deployed by them to holistically and professionally manage the ICU facility. ” the expression of interest stated.

As of now, work orders have been issued for 612 ICU beds. Of them, 50 beds are at NSCI Dome, 112 beds at BKC ground in Bandra, 250 beds at NESCO compound in Goregaon, 100 beds at Mulund CIDCO and 100 beds at Dahisar.

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