Bengaluru private hospitals face shortage of healthcare staff as Covid cases rise

Bengaluru private hospitals face shortage of healthcare staff as Covid cases rise

Bengaluru’s private hospitals continue to face an acute shortage of healthcare staff including doctors, nurses, ward boys and cleaners. The development comes at a time when coronavirus cases are sharply rising in the city.

The city’s Covid situation could worsen if the problem is not dealt with soon, according to healthcare experts.

Dr R Ravindra, President, Private Hospitals and Nursing Association (PHANA) told India Today TV that in the past one year, 58 hospitals have shut and a further 25 hospitals shut after the Covid-19 crisis began.

He went on to add that this was a direct result of healthcare staff shortage.

“In smaller hospitals, almost 50-60 per cent of nurses and other staff have left. In larger hospitals, there is a shortage of 30 per cent nurses and close to 30 per cent doctors,” Dr Ravindra said.

He went on to added that the doctors aged above 60 suffer from comorbidities and hence do not come to the hospitals. Ravindra added that young doctors are also skipping duties as they have small children or elderly parents at home.

“They are scared to come and work in the hospitals,” he said.

“What is shocking is that some of them lack community support and support from their own families. They also have some amount of pressure from the neighbourhood, their apartments and the common man is not allowing doctors and nurses to come back to their homes,” he added.

PHANA has 384 member hospitals in Bengaluru and they have to reserve 4,500 beds. Dr Ravindra said there are 10,500 beds but only 8,000 can be used for treatment since the rest are mostly used for day care centres, kidney care, cancer and some 2,000 as standalone maternity homes.

But the reason why patients are being turned away is due to lack of isolation beds, he said.

Dr Ravindra explained that when patients suspected to be suffering from ILI, SARI or are Covid-19 positive arrive in hospitals, they first need to be kept in isolation wards till their test samples come.

“But most of the hospitals do not have isolation wards and with test samples taking 4-5 days, their beds get filled with these patients,” he added.

According to Dr Ravindra, the government could have done much better given the time they had but admitted that there has been some amount of laxity on both the private and government side.

“The sudden surge in (Covid) numbers has exposed the cracks in the system,’ he added.