The Bombay High Court has directed the Maharashtra government and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to consider suggestions made by some petitioners for ensuring treatment to non-COVID-19 patients.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and A A Sayed on Friday said the authorities would accept such suggestions only if they were "realistic" and "within medical protocols". The court was hearing petitions filed by a lawyer and few social activists, which stated that people suffering from several chronic or serious ailments were being turned away from clinics and hospitals.
The petitioners also highlighted issues such as lack of adequate facilities and medical infrastructure in state, civic-run, and private hospitals amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In the previous hearings, senior advocate Gayatri Singh, the counsel for one of the petitioners, had said that the state and municipal authorities did not have a detailed action plan for patients suffering from ailments other than COVID-19.
Singh and other petitioners had suggested that the authorities must come up with a helpline for non-COVID-19 patients to assist them with ambulance, mobile medical aid, list of hospitals and clinics providing treatment. The petitioners also said mobile clinics and paramedical services can be provided at different locations to help patients who did not require hospitalisation, but were in need of preliminary check-ups, dialysis etc.
Opposing these petitions, BMC counsel Anil Sakhre on Friday said the civic and state authorities had made adequate arrangements for the treatment of non-COVID-19 patients. The bench, however, said some of the suggestions made by the petitioners were of value and since "every possible option needed to be explored" to counter the problems arising out of the pandemic, the authorities must consider implementing these suggestions.
The court has now directed the petitioners to consult experts and private institutions and submit a list of realistic suggestions for the authorities. The state and the BMC can consider these suggestions and inform the court of the same on May 22, the bench said.