A reality check of five of hospitals in Delhi found a huge paucity of beds, especially in the Intensive Care Units and ones attached to ventilators. Only three ventilator beds and five ICU beds were available across the five hospitals, where charges ranged from Rs 10,000 to Rs 30,000 a day, NDTV found. Besides, 70 per cent of the beds in these hospitals were occupied.
NDTV also found that most of the hospitals were in compliance with the government's order to display information regarding availability of beds and charges of treatment.
On June 9, the Delhi government asked all hospitals to put up huge flex boards (12X10 ft) at their premises displaying information about beds reserved for coronavirus patients on the Delhi government app and which helpline to call in case a hospital violated norms.
All five hospitals that NDTV visited -- Max Hospital Patparganj, Holy Family Hospital Okhla, Fortis Hospital Sukhdev Vihar, Apollo Hospital Sarita Vihar and Batra Hospital Tughlaqabad -- were found following this rule.
On June 10, Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal issued orders asking hospitals to put LCD screens at the entrance, which display information on the availability of COVID-19 beds and the treatment costs.
Four hospitals were found displaying these at the entrance -- Max Hospital Patparganj, Fortis Hospital Sukhdev Vihar, Apollo Hospital Sarita Vihar and Batra Hospital Tughlaqabad.
But at Okhla's Holy Family Hospital, there was no display of the beds and charges at the entrance. There was an LCD screen at the reception, which carried information on beds, but prices were not mentioned.
Asked about this, the authorities provided a paper printout with the prices. The LCD display will be updated with information on charges in some time, they said. A few hours later, they sent an image of the updated LCD screen.
The government is currently considering a cap on prices for treatment at private hospitals. A committee under chairmanship of NITI Aayog member Dr VK Paul presented its report on Monday on providing 60 per cent of the beds in private hospitals reserved for coronavirus patients at a low rate, fixing treatment and testing costs.
To meet the shortage of beds, 20,000 beds are to be added by next week - spread over hotels, banquet halls and railway coaches.