The Brihanmumbai Municipal
Corporation told the Bombay High Court on Friday that it had started 13 mobile clinics in the metropolis, and had also started making door to door medical visits to screen people for novel coronavirus symptoms.
The BMC was responding to a previous order of HC directing it to consider suggestions made by some petitioners and private institutions to ensure treatment of patients suffering from ailments other than COVID-19.
On May 16, a bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice AA Sayed directed the BMC to consider the suggestions, adding that the civic body would accept such suggestions only if they were "realistic" and "within medical protocols".
The court was hearing a bunch of petitions filed by a lawyer and social activists highlighting the plight of people suffering from chronic or serious ailments being turned away from clinics and hospitals, as well as issues such as lack of adequate facilities and medical infrastructure in state, civic and private hospitals in current times.
On previous hearings, senior advocate Gayatri Singh, the counsel for one of the petitioners, had pointed out that the state and municipal authorities did not have a detailed action plan for non COVID-19 patients and, already, several people had died of lack of treatment.
Singh and the other petitioners had suggested that the authorities must also come up with a helpline for non-COVID patients to assist them with ambulance, mobile medical aid, and list of hospitals and clinics providing treatment.
The petitioners also suggested that authorities make arrangements for mobile clinics and paramedical services at different locations to help non-COVID patients who did not necessarily require hospitalisation but were in need of preliminary check-ups, dialysis, or other such aid.
On Friday, senior counsel Anil Sakhre, who appeared for BMC, told HC that the civic body had gone through the suggestions, and while it needed some more time to consider them, it was already providing some of the suggested services such as mobile clinics, house to house visit by medical and nursing staff, and door to door screening for COVID-19 in some areas across Mumbai.
"However, the BMC did not specify where are these mobile clinics. What functions it provides? Do the clinics go to the patients in need, or are they at fixed spots where the patients can visit for a check-up? Are they meant only for non-COVID patients or also for those showing COVID-19 like symptoms?" said advocate Ankit Kulkarni, the counsel for one of the petitioners.
"We also told the court that while the BMC has made claims of providing door to door doctor visits, medical screening etc, where are such visits happening on the ground? Because, we have not come across such facilities yet," he said.
The bench led by Chief Justice Datta will further hear the matter and consider the petitioners' suggestions and the BMC's response on May 26.
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