Odisha Government Issues Diktat; Hospitals to Defer Non-essential Treatments

In view of the second wave of COVID, the Odisha government has asked all hospitals in the state – whether private or public – to defer all non-essential hospitalisation and elective surgeries. The Directorate of Health Services (DHS), which published the fresh set of guidelines, is keen to avoid a potential crunch for hospital beds as Covid-19 cases continue to skyrocket.

The government has also asked the hospitals to suspend central registration of patients and instead opt for manual registration. This would help avoid crowds in the queue for OPD care while maintaining social distancing norms. The order comes on a day when Odisha has reported 1741 new infections and 2 deaths. The rising COVID cases come as a blow to the state economy, which also heavily depends on tourism as a revenue source. Presently, Odisha has over 9200 active Covid-19 cases.

The order has barred attendants for patients who are at a non-critical stage. The guidelines also embark on discouraging the patients from making frequent re-visits to the hospital premises and bars media from OPDs or IPDs. It asks patients who have diseases that are not life-threatening to rely on telemedicine, by use of videoconferencing with doctors. The note also reminded the hospitals to ensure access to separate fever clinics, isolation wards and testing facilities.

The order mandates that hospitals must have enough facilities to deal with an influx of all cases, whether COVID or not. As a precaution, however, the guidelines also discourage hospitals from turning down any patient in need of emergency care, citing COVID as a cause. “Taking into consideration the recent resurgence in Covid cases in the state, we need to maintain social distancing to decongest the health facilities and also to see that healthcare personnel, as well as non-Covid patients, do not get infected,” the guidelines said.

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