Rope in retired doctors, medical students for treating COVID patients: Siddaramaiah

In a letter to Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, the Congress leader has given 11 suggestions

As Karnataka is facing a severe shortage health infrastructure for providing treatment to COVID-19 patients, Leader of the Opposition and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Wednesday said the State government should hire the services of retired doctors and para-medical staff, including nurses, on temporary basis to mitigate the problems created by the pandemic.

In a letter to Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, the Congress leader has given 11 suggestions for management of the COVID-19 situation in the State and asked the government to rope in final-year MBBS and para-medical students for providing treatment for patients under the guidance of experienced doctors. Almost every district has government and private medical colleges.

He urged the government to release salary to doctors and medical staff on a timely basis to boost their morale.

Blaming the Central and State governments for the spread of the virus, Mr. Siddaramaiah asked what the State government had done for the last 14 months, since the first wave of the pandemic. “How many beds have been increased? How many ICU beds have been increased? How much production of oxygen and Remdesivir was increased?” The supply of oxygen was just 300-400 tonnes per day against the demand of 1,400 tonnes, he said.

With shortage of beds in government and private hospitals, the former Chief Minister suggested to the government to establish beds at schools, colleges, community halls, and marriage halls on a temporary basis till the situation was brought under control. The bed capacity should be increased by 50%.

On shortage of ventilators and oxygen, Mr. Siddaramaiah suggested to the government to import both items to ensure timely treatment. Following shortage of Remdesivir, he urged the Centre to stop export of the vaccine. The country had exported 11 lakh doses of vaccine, he said and urged the Centre to step up its production to cater the demand in the country.

On patients being charged ₹40,000 to ₹50,000 per day in some private hospitals, the Congress leader urged the government to issue guidelines to private hospitals for regulation of fees.

On providing vaccination, Mr. Siddaramaiah said the State government would be buying 10 crore doses of vaccine by paying ₹400 per dose. This would cost the exchequer ₹4,000 crore, which was collected from the tax-payers. The Centre had said it would allocate ₹35,000 crore for vaccination. The State should get vaccination free of cost and the State MPs should put pressure on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in this regard.

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