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West Bengal: Satellite facility starts with 6 patients, more in offing

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A day after the issue of satellite health facilities for mild or asymptomatic Covid patients was discussed in a meeting between the state chief secretary and private hospital heads, at least one hospital has started such a centre while others are exploring its feasibility. The state health department itself has set up two safe houses in Kolkata for patients referred by government hospitals.

“As advised by the principal secretary, we have acquired a 52-bed hotel near Medica Hospital to accommodate mildly symptomatic and asymptomatic patients or those who do not have home quarantine facilities,” said nuclear cardiologist Alok Roy, chairman of Medica. The unit has started with six patients on the first day. Doctors from Medica will visit the unit twice a day to check on the patients while nurses will be on duty round the clock. “We are thankful o the government for providing continuous support as we have joined hands to fight Covid,” added Roy.

These satellite facilities have been designated as observation wards. They will cater to Covid positive patients who are either asymptomatic or have mild symptoms. The hospitals to which such facilities are attached will be responsible for the treatment of patients and charge a reasonable rate that is lower than normal hospital charges.

“The demand for Covid beds has seen a sharp rise. The idea of a satellite facility is to free hospital beds and reserve them for patients in serious conditions. Many private hospitals, including Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals, have shown an interest while Medica has already started such a unit,” said a senior health department official.

While some hospitals have started scouting for suitable buildings, some are assessing the feasibility and requirement. “We are exploring the idea and assessing the feasibility because the building has to be in the hospital’s vicinity for easy access,” said Arafat Faisal, medical superintendent at Fortis Hospital.

The government has asked interested hospitals to apply for a licence and has set the terms for charging patients. “We are appreciative of the permission and guidelines issued by the government and are studying the logistics,” said R Venkatesh, regional head (east) of Narayana Health.

On a similar concept, the state government has started two safe homes in the city with a total of 250 beds. These homes will house patients referred by the state government and will receive free treatment. “Government doctors, nurses and attendants will monitor the health of patients in these safe houses. If they observe that any patient requires hospital care, their admission will be arranged for. With these two centres, we now have 106 safe houses across the state,” said the state health department official.

Source:Times of India

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