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Centre urges States to ensure provision of healthcare services for non-Covid patients

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on April 29, 2020 Published on April 29, 2020

The Centre on Tuesday urged States to ensure that patients coming to hospitals for non-Covid essential services must be tended to, without insisting on Covid-19 tests.

Union health secretary Preeti Sudan in a letter written to state chief secretaries said that the Government had received reports of private hospitals turning away or hesitating in treating patients needing important services such as dialysis, blood transfusion, chemotherapy and institutional deliveries even due to fear of contracting Covid-19 or because they are not functioning.

“While it is the need of the hour to keep our health systems in a state of readiness to surmount any possible surge in Covid-19 cases, it is also important that non-Covid essential services are also provided to those who need them,” the letter read.

“It is also noticed that at many places the hospitals/clinics are insisting on a Covid-19 test before providing services,” Sudan further added.

The Union Health Ministry has urged all hospitals to keep functioning and provide all essential health services to patients in need according to the guidelines for lockdown issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs. The letter also cites the Health Ministry guidelines for delivering essential health services during Covid-19 issued on April 20.

The letter also said that Covid-19 testing should be carried strictly as per protocols set by the Indian Council for Medical Research.

According to the protocol, the testing is allowed only for those people who have a history of international travel and develop symptoms, close contacts of those who have tested positive, healthcare workers treating Covid-19 patients, patients hospitalized with severe respiratory illnesses and individuals with influenza like symptoms in hotspot areas.

The centre suggested the use of protective equipment for healthcare workers to prevent infection.

“Instead, the healthcare providers may be advised to take necessary precautions for personal protections as per the ministry’s guidelines,” the letter read.

Published on April 29, 2020
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