Reiterating what it said a day ago to the Delhi government, the Delhi High Court on Tuesday said that merely augmenting the number of beds would not help if there was no corresponding increase in number of doctors, nurses and paramedic staff.
A bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli said they have heard of several instances where patients in hospitals are not being attended to properly due to lack of doctors, nurses or paramedic staff.
"Merely augmenting the number of beds would not suffice. There has to be a corresponding increase in doctors, nurses and paramedic staff. We have been telling you this for some time now," the court said to the Delhi government.
The observation came after senior advocate Rahul Mehra, appearing for the Delhi government, said that the people's woes regarding non-availability of beds would soon be addressed as a 500 bedded ICU facility was going to be set up adjacent to GTB hospital.
Mehra also said that a substantive number of oxygen beds were also empty as the situation in the national capital was improving.
"I don't think that is correct," Justice Sanghi said in response.
Mr Mehra said that he will place on record the data in support of his contention.
Senior advocate and amicus curiae Rajshekhar Rao said that there was an issue of COVID patients not being properly attended and cited an example of an octogenarian patient in whose case no one was checking if she was having her food and later had to be put on a IV drip as she had not eaten anything for a day.
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Chetan Sharma said some of the staff of hospitals are also scared to attend to COVID patients.
The court said that if the government does not have enough hands, then it can take the help of the loved ones of the patients to take care of them and supervise some of their needs.
A Delhi government health department official, who was present in the hearing, told the court that in certain cases, like that of children, one family member was allowed to remain with the patient.
The official also told the court that information with regard to need for more doctors, nursing staff and paramedics was being communicated and disseminated and any gap in the same would be addressed.
She also told the bench that walk-in interviews for ad-hoc recruitments were being conducted everyday, but the applicants were few as many of them were engaged by other medical institutions.
She also said that the Delhi government was trying to ensure that the augmentation of human resources keeps pace with the increase in beds.