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Kolkata healthcare braces for changes as number Covid cases decline

Many patients and their relatives, who were deferring their planned surgeries, are again calling up doctors for bookings

Sanjay Mandal | Published 26.01.22, 09:29 AM
Hospitals are going ahead with surgeries and procedures that were being deferred.

Hospitals are going ahead with surgeries and procedures that were being deferred.

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Covid cases are on the decline in Bengal and it has brought about several changes in Kolkata’s healthcare. 

Beds designated for Covid treatment are being reduced across hospitals, while non-Covid cases, including surgeries and procedures that were being deferred because patients and doctors were getting infected, have started picking up again.

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Many patients and their relatives, who were deferring their planned surgeries, are again calling up doctors for bookings.

“When Covid cases were spiraling upwards, we were asking patients who were to undergo knee or hip replacement not to get it done and wait till the government figures indicated the infection rate was going down. Now, I have started getting calls from those patients and their family members, requesting for surgery dates in end-January or early February,” said Sudipto Mukherjee, orthopaedic surgeon at Peerless Hospital.

The hospital started reducing Covid beds from Monday and is also going ahead with surgeries and procedures even for those who have tested positive for Covid, said officials.

“Many patients coming with various ailments are testing positive for Covid during routine tests. But that number has come down significantly. Also, we are now giving options to such patients to get the surgeries done, if family members agree,” said Sudipta Mitra, chief executive of Peerless Hospital.

On Monday, the hospital reduced the number of Covid beds from 140 to 95, of which 50 were occupied on Tuesday. The surgeries and procedures, which had come down to around 10 daily, have gone up to 40 now, said Mitra.

The RN Tagore International Institute of Cardiac Sciences had 45 Covid beds in December, before the third wave started. The hospital then increased the number of beds to 150 by the middle of January. On Monday, the hospital reduced the count to 110.

“We had initially increased the Covid beds to 110 in early January and then added 40 critical care beds. From Monday, we reduced the number of critical care beds again,” said R. Venkatesh, regional director, east, Narayana Health, of which the RN Tagore hospital is the flagship unit.

“The demand for non-Covid beds is picking up every day and we are monitoring the situation. There has been a 30 per cent increase in the number of planned surgeries and procedures in the past week," said Venkatesh.

Belle Vue Clinic has reduced Covid beds twice in one week as the occupancy is going down daily.

The hospital had 102 Covid beds about a week back and it was brought down to 80. On Monday, the hospital brought down the number further to 48.

“We have kept 34 critical care and 14 general beds for Covid patients. The number of critical patients is still higher,” said Pradip Tondon, CEO of Belle Vue Clinic.

Belle Vue usually performed 30 surgeries in a day on an average before the third wave. The count went down to around five. On Tuesday, 18 surgeries and procedures were performed, Tondon said.

However, some hospitals are still cautious about reducing the Covid beds.

The AMRI group has reduced Covid beds at its three hospitals in Kolkata from 300 to 250 in a week. “We are continuously reducing Covid beds in phases. However, we have not touched the critical care beds yet because there is still a high demand for them,” said Rupak Barua, group CEO of AMRI.

Last updated on 26.01.22, 09:29 AM
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