'Denying other patients may lead to hospital registration being cancelled'
The Delhi Health Department on Thursday warned hospitals that they may face cancellation of their registration without further notice if they denied service to any non-COVID patient.
As several staff of non-Covid facilities tested positive, the Delhi government also re-issued the existing precautionary orders for the personal protection of the health care providers.
An order, signed by the Delhi Health Secretary, said the Union Health Ministry has directed that while continuing to focus on Covid-19 related activities, providing other essential services was important not only to maintain people's trust in the health system to deliver essential health services, but also to minimise an increase in morbidity and mortality from other health conditions.
"Accordingly all states were directed to identify essential services such as: pregnant women, those recently delivered, infants and children under five, those on treatment for chronic diseases, communicable diseases like TB/Leprosy, vector-borne diseases, requiring treatment for dialysis, cancer, blood transfusions, and other special needs, that would be prioritized in the efforts to maintain continuity of service delivery," the order said.
It said on April 24, the Delhi government had clearly directed that no patient who is reaching the non-Covid hospital (whether government or private) other than with corona infection should be denied treatment or admission in the hospital.
Also, on April 17, "it was clearly directed that no hospital will deny any End Stage Renal Disease Patient with Maintenance Haemodialysis or shut down its Dialysis unit beyond a period of 24 hours for decontamination in case of treating any Covid-19 patient."
The Health Department said that it has come to notice that some hospitals in the private sector, are hesitating in providing critical services, such as dialysis, blood transfusion, chemotherapy and institutional deliveries to their regular patients, either on account of fear of contracting Covid-19 or they are keeping their hospitals or clinics closed.
"It is also noticed that in many places the hospitals/clinics are insisting on a Covid-19 test before providing services."
In this context, the Health Secretary listed at least six orders from the Central government including the 'Guidelines for Dialysis of Covid-19 patients' dated April 7, and advisory for Voluntary Blood Donation during Covid-19 scenario' dated April 9.
It also reminded the guidelines for Covid-19 testing dated April 17; the guidelines on rational use of Personal Protective Equipment dated April 24; the guidelines to be followed on detection of suspect or confirmed Covid-19 cases in a non-Covid Health facility dated April 20; and the advisory on the use of Hydroxychloroquine as prophylaxis for SARS-COV-2 infection dated April 23.
"The above guidelines and SOPs provide complete information on the issue of taking precautions for personal protection by health care providers while facilitating the continuance of health facilities and also the testing protocols for Covid-19," the April 30 order said.
Also, it added that the Ministry of Home Affairs on April 15 had directed that all health services should remain functional during the period of lockdown.
"In view of the above facts all the Hospitals/Clinics, especially those in private sectors, are hereby directed to remain functional and ensure that anyone needing any essential critical services including dialysis, blood transfusion, chemotherapy and Institutional deliveries, is not denied such service," the Delhi Health Secretary said.
It warned that the non-compliance will be viewed seriously and action as per provisions of law, "including cancellation of the registration of the defaulter hospital/nursing home will be initiated without further notice." IANS