BENGALURU: The Health Department has issued a circular ordering hospitals and nursing homes to install their own Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) oxygen plants or refilling plants and other required infrastructure to meet their oxygen requirement.This comes in the backdrop of a recent Delhi High Court observation which said that it was high time for large hospitals and nursing homes in the national capital to make provision to reduce dependence on outside sources for medical oxygen.
The Karnataka Health Department said that for hospitals with more than 100 beds, infrastructure should have sufficient capacity to produce at least two times their normal requirement of oxygen, while in hospitals having 50 to 99 beds, the infrastructure should be sufficient to meet at least their normal requirement. Hospitals or nursing homes having less than 50 beds must augment their infrastructure and add capacities.“It is hereby directed that all the private medical establishments of the state to install oxygen plants in their hospital premises within a time frame of 4 months to avert any future oxygen crisis…” wrote Health Commissioner Dr K V Thrilok Chandra in the circular.
Dr Jagadish Hiremath, medical director of Ace Multi-Speciality Hospital, said, “Never before has oxygen been used in this manner. Given what has happened in the last two years, it may be a good thing for hospitals to have their own oxygen plants. However, it is a good idea for hospitals with more than 50 beds to get liquid oxygen supply from outside sources. On the other hand, it will raise the cost of everything. Installing an oxygen plant can cost up to Rs 50 lakh. Because this is a capital cost rather than a running cost, hospitals must find a way to recover it. This, of course, will have an effect on the treatment cost.” He added that the government must provide loans to hospitals for installing oxygen plants.
Dr Suriraju, Chief Urologist at Regal Hospital, said cost will be an issue. “We welcome the move. The government must work towards providing financial support for hospitals. Installing an oxygen plant will cost us Rs 70-80 lakh. Also, maintenance of PSA plant is expensive. We stood with the government when we were asked to reserve beds under BBMP quota. Now, we expect the government to support hospitals with subsidies and ease the loan process to instal oxygen plants.” The hospital has received a quotation of Rs 80 lakh for installation and Rs 1 lakh for maintenance and they estimate it could take 6 weeks to set it up on a space measuring 10X5 ft.