COVID-19 impact: Most hospitals have inadequate personal protection equipment, says Max Healthcare

As the number of COVID-19 cases rise. Abhay Soi, Chairman of Max Healthcare discussing the increased load on hospitals as well as their preparedness to handle the same said, there is a short term, medium term, and a long term that is going to perhaps play out as far as the virus is concerned.

He said that there will be postponement of surgeries and medical tourism. “You are going to have postponement of elective surgeries and cancellation of international medical tourism. Essentially, we are going to have a situation where occupancies will go down to about 25-30 percent. That is because of the level of emergency admissions most hospitals have, be it government or private,” he said.

“At this point of time occupancy levels for most players have plummeted to about 40-45 percent and over the next few days I do estimate that going down to about 25-30 percent,” he said in an interview with CNBC-TV18.

However, he expects the occupancies to surge as COVID-19 cases increase. “Although business has been impacted, we have to gear up for higher level of operations. In the medium run, if the COVID-19 surge comes, we are going to have very high level of occupancies.

“And once that abates, and I hope over the short to medium run that should happen, you are going to have capacities perhaps come down for some time while COVID-19 is going out of the picture, and then suddenly surge because of a lot of the electives would form a part of the latent demand at that stage,” he added.

According to him, there is need to be infrastructure ready for COVID-19 patients. “Most of these are medical cases and so you do require a little more capacity as far as ventilators are concerned. Other than this, you need to create negative pressure rooms in ICUs. That can be done with a very small amount of tinkering as far as heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system and the mechanics are concerned,” he added.

However, there is a need for personal protection equipment (PPE). “We run 3500 beds, a 350 bed hospital will require about 20,000-25,000 personal protection gears in a month and that is a very large number. We will require about 2.5 lakh PPE and that is where the problem is because most players, be it the private sector or the public sector, their capacities or their stock of PPE at this stage is inadequate to vastly inadequate,” he said.

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