HYDERABAD: In a major development, after almost eight months of being an exclusive COVID-19 treating facility, Gandhi Medical College and Hospital will be open for non-COVID services as well.
The Director of Medical Education (DME) on Thursday issued instructions to the Superintendent of the hospital to make suitable arrangements for this before November 21. With this, the state will have its two tertiary care hospitals back in place bringing relief to scores of underprivileged patients.
The instructions from the DME office came after junior doctors of Gandhi Hospital said they will be on an indefinite strike from the 11th of November until non-COVID services are reintroduced in the hospital.
"Presently we have planned that only surgical specialities will reopen by Monday, post Diwali. For medical specialities, we will need more time and discussions will be made with HODs and the DME. We have prepared a detailed plan to ensure a smooth transition," added Dr Raja Rao, Superintendent Gandhi Hospital.
The instructions from the DME ask for arrangements to be made to separate COVID and non-COVID areas of the hospital. It also notes that the staff to be posted in COVID-19 areas should be decided by the hospital superintendent based on the load of COVID-19 admissions. All the regular hospital work, i.e all departmental teaching and other hospitals academic work, should start, add the instructions.
It may be recalled that professors and students have been demanding this since September when cases began to dwindle. An internal committee had also devised a detailed plan on how non-COVID services could be restarted in the hospital. However, the previous order by the DME and Director of Public Health had continued to retain Gandhi Hospital as nodal COVID-19 hospital.
After the announcement, Junior Doctors Association (JUDA) representatives in Gandhi Hospital said that while they welcome the instructions issued, they wanted the specific order that the hospital will only have to admit 200 ICU super speciality cases and not more.
“We are continuing our strike even though this order is welcome. The order in its present form implies that all COVID and non-COVID cases in any number can be sent to Gandhi Hospital which will be an administrative nightmare. We want the tag of nodal COVID-19 hospital to be removed and only extremely serious cases which can’t be treated elsewhere sent here,” added Dr Shashidhar Reddy, JUDA president, Gandhi Hospital.
Presently the 1500-bed capacity hospital has 300 patients of which only 150 require super speciality ICU care. “King Koti Hospital is a fully functional 300-bed hospital occupied by only 75 moderate and mild cases. The 150 moderate COVID-19 patients of Gandhi Hospital must be shifted there,” added Dr Shashidhar.