The Centre on Tuesday asked all states and union territories to ensure that hospitals and clinics, even the private ones, keep functioning and also do not insist on COVID-19 test for every patient needing hospital care.
In a letter to chief secretaries of all states and union territories, union health secretary Preeti Sudan said the government has received reports that many private hospitals and clinics are denying critical services such as dialysis, blood transfusion, chemotherapy and institutional deliveries to their regular patients either on account of fear of contracting COVID-19 or they are keeping their hospitals or clinics closed.
She also said that even though health systems should be prepared to tackle any surge in the number of coronavirus cases in the country, it is essential that the non-COVID-19 patients requiring essential services dialysis, blood transfusion, chemotherapy and institutional deliveries should not be ignored and full care should be given towards them.
She also reminded in her letter that COVID-19 testing should be carried out only under the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) protocols.
“It is also noticed that at many places the hospitals/ clinics are insisting on a COVID-19 test before providing the services,” she added.
“The Indian Council of Medical Research has issued guidelines for COVID-19 testing. These protocols may be widely disseminated among the healthcare service providers and it may be emphasized that testing for COVID-19 has to be as per the protocols,” Sudan said.