Jumbos start re-hiring staff, hospitals on standby as daily cases rise
Mumbai’s jumbo Covid-19 facilities that went into hibernation after the second wave receded have now started rehiring medical, housekeeping and other staff
MUMBAI: Mumbai’s jumbo Covid-19 facilities that went into hibernation after the second wave receded have now started rehiring medical, housekeeping and other staff. The surge in daily cases in Mumbai since the past six days and circulation of the highly mutated Omicron variant has prompted reactivation of all jumbo facilities in a phased manner.
For instance, the 3,500-bed NESCO jumbo facility at Goregaon on Monday appointed eight doctors, 10 nurses and 20 ward boys. The facility plans to take the total staff strength to 39 doctors in the ward and 38 doctors in the intensive care unit (ICU); 50 nurses; and 63 ward boys even as provision has been made to hire more staff over the next few days if the need arises. Dr Neelam Andrade, dean of the facility, said, “Our occupancy for the past several weeks was merely 10 to 15 but in the last two days, the occupancy has increased to 39. As of now, we have built the strength to cater to 150 patients, but we can promptly appoint more people if the need arises.” During the second wave, the overall staff strength of the NESCO facility was 1,800.
The staff in jumbo facilities is hired on a contractual basis with a majority being hired on three-monthly contracts. In addition to NESCO, the other jumbo facilities are located at Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC), Dahisar, Marol, Mulund, Byculla and Worli. Of these, NESCO, BKC, Marol, Byculla and Worli have been reactivated while the rest have been kept on alert.
Dr Rajesh Dere, dean of the BKC facility, said, “We had nearly 233 doctors and 300 staff nurses and ward boys during the second wave. We will be going back to the same staff strength by the first week of January. We have already started reappointing manpower.” Dr Dere said that about 150 doctors and 100 ward boys have already been hired.
The bigger hospitals in the city like KEM hospital at Parel, LTMG hospital at Sion, and BYL Nair at Mumbai Central have also been kept as backup for serious patients. Dr Ramesh Bharmal, dean of BYL Nair hospital said, “At the moment, the patients will be sent to the five jumbo facilities that have been reactivated, and if need be, all the bigger hospitals will also take in patients, similar to the second wave. All jumbo facilities have taken stock of their medicines and oxygen.”
The 24 war rooms corresponding to the city’s 24 wards which had played a crucial role during both waves of Covid-19 in coordinating between patients and hospitals for beds have also started rehiring staff on call. Each war room had a staff strength of 15 to 20 people but the strength was reduced to half. “We had many teachers and medical interns who were let go for their duties, but all ward war rooms will be back to their original strength by January 15,” said Mahesh Narvekar, chief of BMC’s disaster management unit.