The Delhi Medical Association on Saturday hit out at Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal after he warned hospitals of stern action if they refuse COVID-19 patients or indulge in "black-marketing" of beds amid growing concerns over a surge in coronavirus cases in the capital.
"Delhi Medical Association strongly condemns the way Delhi CM (Chief Minister) is warning the doctors and threatening the hospitals about COVID-19 patients admissions and tests," the body said in a statement.
"Doctors who are serving the people of Delhi tirelessly from last two months in this pandemic crisis risking their lives feel insulted by the way they are being treated," it added.
"Hospitals are backbone of healthcare and are serving the patients COVID or Non-COVID. They are being penalised and government instead of praising their efforts is issuing new diktats daily," the statement said.
The medical body also condemned the police case filed against authorities of Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, a leading private facility that has been charged with violating rules for registering coronavirus tests.
"Doctors of Delhi are already overworked and overstressed in this hour of pandemic crisis and the state government is unnecessarily putting pressure on healthcare systems," the statement said, claiming the support of its 15,000 members.
The medical body demanded a coordination committee for medical professionals and the Delhi government, adequate testing facilities, smoother patient transfers and cremations, and designated authorities for coordinating COVID-19 care.
The strong response from the medical body came as Delhi recorded 1,320 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, taking the total to 27,654 including 761 deaths multiple complaints of patients being refused admission in recent days and reports that that medical centres in the capital were swamped.
Addressing an online media briefing amid concerns of patients being turned away by hospitals, Mr Kejriwal said the Delhi government will depute medical professionals in each private hospital to ensure patients are aware of beds available and they are admitted without any hassle.
"False refusal cannot be tolerated and admitting coronavirus patients is non-negotiable... There are some private hospitals which are resorting to such means. First they say they don't have bed and when patients insist, they demand a huge amount. Isn't this black-marketing of beds?" Mr Kejriwal said.