The West Bengal Clinical Establishment Regulatory Commission has directed private hospitals to admit pre-registered expecting mothers for delivery even if they test positive for COVID-19.
This follows complaints received by the commission that pregnant women were being denied admission by private hospitals where they had registered themselves during the gestation period.
An advisory issued by the commission on Monday stated, "In case the patient is already pre-registered, the clinical establishment will not be entitled to refuse admission on grounds that the patient is COVID-positive."
For expecting women who come to the hospital for the first time, the advisory said, "The clinical establishment being uni-speciality hospital dealing with maternity cases like caesarean/normal delivery, would henceforth notify their patients coming up on a first visit soon after they conceive, a caution and/or information in a printed form documented by obtaining signature of the patient and/or the patient party to the effect, the clinical establishment would refuse admission in case the patient would turn Covid positive, even if asymptomatic.
"Such clinical establishment must obtain a prior certificate agreeing unanimously by the gynaecologists enrolled with them (that) their infrastructure would not support any treatment to the patient when she is Covid positive," it said.
According to an official of the commission, the body received several complaints from people regarding private hospitals denying admission to pregnant women on grounds that they were not equipped to handle childbirth for COVID-19-positive women. Other private hospitals have stated that they do not have the infrastructure to take care of COVID-19-positive newborns.
In such cases, the authorities must arrange for her admission in a proper setup elsewhere, giving at least three choices, the advisory stated.
For non-agreeing patients, the hospital authorities have to take adequate measure for shifting the expecting woman to another facility where the patient party has to bear the transportation cost.
The state government has been requesting private and state-run hospitals not to deny admission to patients suffering from other diseases.