Non-Covid surgeries, OPDs slowly gain momentum at Mumbai hospitals | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Non-Covid surgeries, OPDs slowly gain momentum at Mumbai hospitals

ByJyoti Shelar
Aug 03, 2021 01:14 AM IST

With a steady decline in the Covid-19 cases in Mumbai, non-Covid medical procedures and visits at out-patient departments (OPDs) are slowly gaining momentum

With a steady decline in the Covid-19 cases in Mumbai, non-Covid medical procedures and visits at out-patient departments (OPDs) are slowly gaining momentum. Doctors said that the number of surgeries and OPD visits are yet to go back to the pre-Covid times, but there has been an uptick over the past month.

In the pre-Covid times, Mumbai’s Nair hospital carried out anywhere between 100 and 150 major and minor procedures daily. It is now conducting about 50-75 procedures. (HT FILE)
In the pre-Covid times, Mumbai’s Nair hospital carried out anywhere between 100 and 150 major and minor procedures daily. It is now conducting about 50-75 procedures. (HT FILE)

“We have resumed about 80% of the non-Covid work,” said Dr Ramesh Bharmal, the dean of the civic-run BYL Nair Hospital that was converted into an exclusive Covid-19 facility last April. The hospital had commissioned all its 1,100 regular beds and 110 intensive care unit (ICU) beds for Covid-19 patients.

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“As the cases kept declining, we gradually decommissioned the Covid-19 beds, first reducing them to 700, then to 500, and so on. We currently have only 100 Covid-19 beds and 40 ICU beds for Covid,” said Dr Bharmal.

In the pre-Covid times, the hospital carried out anywhere between 100 and 150 major and minor procedures daily. It is now conducting about 50-75 procedures.

The civic-run KEM Hospital in Parel carried out nearly 300 major and minor procedures every day in the pre-Covid period. It is now conducting about 200 to 215 procedures.

“Our OPDs had a footfall of about 5,000-7,000 patients every day, Mondays seeing the highest numbers every week,” said Dr Hemant Deshmukh, dean of the hospital.

“The OPD numbers are still down by 20%,” he said.

While KEM Hospital caters to a large number of people from the city, it also receives patients from the peripheral areas. According to Dr Deshmukh, transportation is a major hurdle and even as people are allowed to take local trains for medical reasons, the footfall in the hospitals has been low.

“There is still some amount of fear to step into hospitals. Those waiting for elective surgeries like hernias or joint replacements are rarely scheduling their procedures,” said Dr Deshmukh.

KEM Hospital received some of the most serious Covid-19 patients when the first and second peaks of the pandemic hit the city. While serious patients are still referred to the hospitals, the civic body has kept the jumbo facilities operational to take the load of mild to moderate Covid-19 patients to let hospitals like Nair and KEM pick up the pace of non-Covid work.

Private centres, too, are recording similar trends. For instance, Andheri’s Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital (KDAH) has resumed almost 75% of the non-Covid services. The number of daily procedures at the hospital now hovers around 40-45 from the average of 50-55 before Covid-19 outbreak. During the peaks of the pandemic, the hospital still managed to carry out 15 to 20 non-Covid procedures, including emergency surgeries.

“Many of our patients come from out of Mumbai. With the travel restrictions and lack of clarity about rules, such patients have reduced,” said Dr Santosh Shetty, chief executive officer of KDAH.

“Nearly 15% of our work has now shifted online,” he said.

Hospitals are hopeful that the general services will resume as more people get vaccinated.

“We are gradually seeing an increase in patients visiting the hospital for consultations and we expect these numbers to rise further with the increase in vaccinations,” said Dr Rajeev Boudhankar, chief executive officer of Bhatia Hospital.

The hospital has segregated its Covid-19 and non-Covid areas, designated separate lifts for non-Covid patients and has also created a Covid-19 operation theatre for minor surgeries of coronavirus patients. Before the pandemic, Bhatia Hospital had a daily OPD footfall of 150 patients and it conducted around 15 procedures. Since April, the hospital has been carrying out about seven to 10 surgeries per day and has a footfall of about 65 patients in OPDs.

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