COVID-19 in Bengal: hospitals can’t refuse non-COVID patients, says govt

The West Bengal government on Thursday said in an advisory that “no patient can be denied health services for any reason whatsoever”.

It was also said that “no Government approval is required for either admitting or treating any patient in any healthcare facility or for testing an individual for COVID (Novel Coronavirus) as per ICMR’s [Indian Council of Medical Research] Testing Protocol.”

The advisory was released for “early normalization/resumption of services in the health sector for providing non-COVID-19 essential services to patients,” it added.

The advisory mentions that patients suffering from ailments other than COVID-19 should not be neglected while the hospitals are busy fighting the unusual situation. A letter form Union Health Secretary Preeti Sudan was sent to chief secretaries of all the states in this regard on April 28.

In the letter, Sudan had asked the states to ensure that “non-COVID essential services for reproductive child health (RCH), immunization, communicable diseases such as TB (tuberculosis), leprosy and vector borne diseases and non-communicable diseases such as cancer and dialysis” have to be provided by hospitals. The letter also asked to ensure “essential critical services including blood trasfusion, chemotherapy and institutional deliveries” to patients.

Private clinics and hospitals were especially asked in the letter to remain functional in view of reports that some of them were not providing such essential services to patients.

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