City hospitals to admit only critically ill COVID patients

File Representational Pic

Amid the spike in COVID19 deaths and cases, the administration has directed all Deputy Commissioners (DCs) and heads of district hospitals of Kashmir to ensure referral of only critically ill COVID patients to Srinagar’s tertiary care hospitals.

A senior official said referral of COVID patients to Srinagar hospitals has put “burden” on the infrastructure in the tertiary care hospitals.

“The government has already notified a referral policy which makes it incumbent upon district health officials to refer only critically ill COVID patients to Srinagar.  However this policy is not being implemented on the ground in letter and spirit as a result of which our main hospitals are overburdened,” the official said.

Recently, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Pandurang Pole recently chaired a meeting with Deputy Commissioners and health officials to discuss the issue.

As per the minutes of the meeting, the Divisional Commissioner has expressed concern over congestion at tertiary care hospitals including SMHS and SKIMS.

“The Divisional Commissioner took a serious note of congestion at tertiary care hospitals and directed all the districts to abide by latest referral policy and refer only serious patients to tertiary care institutions of Srinagar who require tertiary care. Also directions in this regard was passed on to the concerned to prepare district wise list of patients admitted in the tertiary care hospitals,” reads the minutes of the meeting. “The Divisional Commissioner expressed anguish over lackasdical approach of Medical Superintendents of GMCs in Anantnag and Baramulla for not increasing bed capacity and directed Deputy Commissioners of Anantnag and Baramulla to issue show cause notice to both the Medical Superintendents.”

The State Executive Committee (SEC) has already issued several instructions with respect to the referral of COVID19 patients to tertiary health care institutions in exercise of powers conferred under Section 24 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, and in reiteration of departmental instructions on the subject.

As per the Committee SKIMS Soura, SMHS Hospital, Chest Diseases Hospital and SKIMS Medical College & Hospital Bemina, in Kashmir and GMC Jammu, CD Hospital Jammu and ASCOMS in Jammu shall be designated as tertiary care-1 institutions and referred to as category-l referral hospitals.

“All COVID positive patients with mild/moderate symptoms shall first be admitted in category-II/III hospitals at sub-district/district level or any other hospital which is not a category-I referral hospital. Such patients shall not be directly admitted to any category-I referral hospital,” the Committee has said. “Those patients shall be admitted and treated in category-I referral hospitals only if they are duly referred by a concerned district level hospital or a non-category-I referral hospital. This will be ensured by all Chief Medical Officers and supervised by Deputy Commissioners.”

The Divisional Commissioners Kashmir and Jammu with assistance of Director, Health Services, Kashmir and Jammu have been directed to put in place a mechanism to monitor the compliance of the instructions at all levels.

The order also stated that heads of the tertiary care institutions/category-I referral hospitals shall not deviate from these instructions without the knowledge of Divisional Commissioners of Kashmir and Jammu. “Any deviation from this order shall attract penal action under the Disaster Management Act, 2005,” reads the order.