COVID-19: Maha hospitals warned against turning away patients

Mumbai: Maharashtra chief secretary Ajoy Mehta on Thursday directed all hospitals in the state not to turn away patients, as complaints were piling up against several private hospitals and clinics for reportedly refusing to examine people.

While warning of strict action against those who defied the Maharashtra government’s directives, Mehta said official orders would come into effect from May 2.

Considering the fact that the number of COVID-19 cases continue to soar in the state, the chief secretary directed all state-run and private hospitals not to turn away patients without examining them under any circumstances.

The government will also enforce directives to ensure that results of COVID-19 tests come out within 12 hours of sample collection and deceased COVID-19 patients are shifted from hospital wards within 30 minutes, the senior official said.

These orders can pose a major challenge, as results of COVID-19 tests were issued almost 48 hours after sample collection and there have been instances where bodies of deceased patients were left unattended in wards for more than four hours.

Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope and Medical Education Minister Amit Deshmukh had brought up these issues in the past.

Mehta also directed the authorities to dispose of bodies of patients within 12 hour and follow defined guidelines and regulations while doing so.

As on Thursday morning Maharashtra COVID-19 figures were as follows: Positive cases 9,915, new cases 597, deaths 432, discharged 1,593, active cases 7,890 and people tested so far 1,37,159.

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