As per the circular, the AIIMS director held a meeting to discuss measures for the impending COVID-19 pandemic, following which the decision was taken.
The AIIMS on Friday announced that only emergency life-saving surgeries be taken up in various operation theatres from March 21 in view of the novel coronavirus outbreak. “The services of AIIMS, New Delhi needs to be curtailed in response to the heightened need for diversion of infrastructure, manpower and material resources for prevention and control of COVID-19 outbreak,” according to a circular issues by the AIIMS.
As per the circular, the AIIMS director held a meeting to discuss measures for the impending COVID-19 pandemic, following which the decision was taken. Amid rising cases of coronavirus in the national capital, the AIIMS administration is also urging OPD patients to postpone their appointments at the hospital if it is not urgent.
“It was decided that an advisory would be sent to OPD patients on their registered phone numbers through SMS to the following effect. “In view of the increasing threat of corona infection, you are requested to postpone your appointments at AIIMS if it is not urgent in nature. This is for your safety and good health,” the order said.
The messages are being sent to all appointments booked for the next one month. Also, an office order issued by the Safdarjung Hospital administration said, “In view of the coronavirus outbreak in the country it has been decided to cancel all elective surgeries in the hospital with immediate effect and until further orders.”
The officer orders were issued to all the head of departments. The Union Health Ministry has asked hospitals and medical education institutes to procure sufficient number of ventilators and high flow oxygen masks and advised them to decrease gatherings on their respective premises.
Stating that the medical infrastructure in the country needs to be prepared for any possible influx of patients, the ministry issued an advisory outlining interventions for indoor facilities, Information, Education and Communication (IEC) activities and administrative issues.
According to the advisory, non-essential elective surgeries should be postponed. It said some beds should be kept apart for creating isolation facilities in public and private hospital and ensuring that stable patients are discharged as early as possible while adding that further new admissions (of stable patients) are also restricted.
The advisory also asked all hospitals to provide free treatment to medical personnel who pick up infection while treating patients and said no suspected COVID-19 patient should be turned away from any hospital and admission of any such patient should be notified to National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) or Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) immediately.
Similarly, all pneumonia patients must also be notified to NCDC or IDSP so that they can be tested for COVID-19, it said, adding that hospitals should ensure social distancing in their premises. As far as OPD is concerned, the ministry asked hospitals to advise patients not to come for routine visits if it can be avoided or postponed. It also said patients suffering from chronic diseases and minor elements be advised to utilise OPDs in primary/secondary care facilities rather than crowding tertiary care centres.
“OPDs may be organised in such a manner that patients exhibiting flu-like symptoms are attended separately from other patients and spaced out so as to avoid overcrowding.