Tuesday, March 28

Hotels offer to house mild patients to free up hospital beds in Kolkata

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The Hotel and Restaurants Association of Eastern India (HRAEI) has offered the medical fraternity hotel rooms to house Covid patients with mild symptoms to tide over the crisis of beds that the city is currently staring at. TOI has been reporting that hospitals, both private and state-run, are fast running out of Covid beds as the number of positive cases surge. Even satellite facilities run by private hospitals to accommodate mild cases have no vacancies. In such a scenario, the HRAEI’s initiative could be a game-changer as it frees up beds for more serious patients.

The hotel association had earlier offered 2,600 rooms to quarantine flyers returning from international destination. Most of these could be converted into Covid beds, industry insiders indicated.

To begin with, the hotel association has identified 200 beds/rooms in four- and five-star category hotels that can be made available by next week. The number can go up as demand rises. It is learnt that several of the city’s bigger medical facilities including AMRI, Belle Vue Clinic, Medica, Fortis and Apollo have shown interest and details of hotel-hospital tie-ups are being negotiated. The arrangement will be a win-win formula for both as hotels are also facing their lowest-ever occupancy due to the pandemic.

“There is real scarcity of beds for Covid patients in the city which would aggravate further in the coming days. We are trying to find a solution to that. We have offered rooms and by next weekend the number of Covid beds should go up,” HRAEI president Parnav Singh told TOI after a two- hour video conferencing between the umbrella body for hotels and the Associations of Hospitals in Eastern India (AHEI)

Rupak Barua, president of AHEI and group CEO of AMRI, said it was time to work jointly in this crisis. “We want hotels to be converted into satellite centres under direct supervision of hospitals. The demand for beds cannot be met by hospitals alone so we were looking for alternative solutions and this could be one,” he said adding that AHEI would apply for permission from the state health department for this.

Barua said doctors from hospitals would regularly visit the hotels and some nurses would also be stationed there 24×7. “We will try to pair hospitals and hotel on the basis of their proximity,” he added.

General secretary of HRAEI, Sudesh Poddar, said several of their members had shown interest in the arrangement. “We have proposed that 1-2 hotels could be attached to every hospitals. Housekeeping services and food will be provided by us while the medical treatment will be taken care of by the hospitals,” he said.

According to Poddar, HRAEI has 1,300 members in eastern India and 800 members in Bengal. “We have an inventory of 50,000 rooms in Bengal. Earlier, we had offered up to 2,600 rooms for home quarantine,” he said adding that the number of beds for Covid treatment in hotels could be gradually scaled up as per demand. Most of the rooms offered for quarantine could now be converted into Covid beds, he indicated.

The CEO of Belle Vue Clinic, Pradip Tondon, who was also present at the 2-hour video meet, said an MOU would be signed between the two associations in the next couple of days. “This would release the pressure on hospitals and allow serious patients to get beds. At the moment, a lot of mild Covid patients, too, occupying hospital beds,” he said.


Source: Times of India

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