Private hospitals hire doctors and nurses for Covid field units
Private hospitals that are setting up Covid field hospitals in auditoriums and stadiums are recruiting nurses and doctors and redeploying doctors from departments where the patient count has dropped to run the temporary treatment centres.
The hospitals are focusing on large spaces where more than hundred beds can be set up for Covid patients, rather than opening off-site hospitals in multiple locations with only a handful of beds in each.
A large space with many beds will be easier to manage as there is already a shortage of doctors, nurses and support staff.
AMRI Hospitals inaugurated a 250-bed Covid field hospital at Salt Lake stadium (Yuba Bharati Krirangan) on Friday, while Medica Superspecialty Hospital has set up a 153-bed facility at Kishore Bharati Stadium in Jadavpur.
The field hospitals have the infrastructure to treat moderate Covid patients, which distinguishes them from satellite facilities that are mostly meant for people with mild symptoms who do not have space at home to isolate themselves from other family members.
“We have recruited 75 nurses to run the field hospital at the Salt Lake stadium. They will work in shifts. We have also recruited a few doctors. Ten doctors will remain posted at the field hospital around the clock. All the recruitments were done over the last 10 days,” said Rupak Barua, the group chief executive officer of AMRI Hospitals.
The doctors who will be stationed at the field hospital at the stadium, which has been tagged with AMRI Salt Lake, have two to five years’ experience.
Senior doctors and specialists from AMRI Salt Lake will visit the field hospital, which has been set up at the Youth Hostel in the stadium complex, as and when required. The nurses who have been recruited for the field hospitals include trainees as well as experienced ones.
Barua said AMRI had focused on opening field hospitals in large spaces so that many beds could be set up at one location.
“There is already an acute shortage of personnel. To open a field hospital, we require nurses, doctors, technicians, housekeeping staff and maintenance staff. If we can have 250 beds at one place, it becomes easier for specialist doctors to visit and examine the patients. That is why we have decided to open field hospitals at places where a large number of beds can be set up,” he said.
The Salt Lake stadium facility will have oxygen for all beds and five respiratory critical care beds.
The field hospital at Kishore Bharati Stadium, run by Medica, has 153 beds, of which 103 beds are linked to the piped oxygen supply network. The centre has one ventilator.
“We have been constantly recruiting doctors and nurses for the last fortnight to open the field hospital. We are also working on creating a 300-bed Covid facility at Calcutta Police Hospital (in Bhowanipore),” said Alok Roy, the chairperson of Medica.
“We have recruited a number of trainee nurses. We have posted them at our main hospital where they will work under the supervision of senior nurses. We have shifted some of the mid-level nurses with considerable experience to the field hospital. By doing this, we are not keeping any of the hospitals without experienced nurses,” said Roy.
Medica has also asked doctors in some departments that have very few patients now —like gastroenterology and orthopaedics — to work at the field hospital.
The doctors are experienced enough to handle a Covid patient and alert a specialist like a pulmonologist or a cardiologist if needed. “These are extraordinary times. Doctors, nurses and other staff are working long hours every day to cater to the huge pool of patients,” said Roy.
Patients will be admitted to the field units through the respective hospitals. Officials said that depending on a patient’s condition, doctors will decide whether he or she will be admitted to the main hospital or the field unit.
AMRI has also proposed to set up a field hospital at Netaji Indoor Stadium. Barua said around 200 beds could be set up at the indoor stadium.