Review panel report in: Liquid oxygen tanks must in 100-bed govt hospitals

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Almost two months after four patients at the Sushruta Trauma Centre died when oxygen supply to the ICU they were admitted in failed, a four-member expert committee constituted to review critical care facilities in Delhi government hospitals has completed its report. Health officials maintained they would begin implementing committee's recommendations soon.

Health Minister Dr A K Walia told Newsline that the committee had completed the report and submitted it to the Health department last week. "The committee has recommended changes and upgrades in the system as well as improved training for staff manning critical care systems. The Health department is already working on implementing the committee's recommendations," Walia said.

The recommendations include installing liquid oxygen tanks, purchasing more anaesthesia machines and training the staff to handle oxygen supply and operation theatres.

The committee has urged the government to install liquid oxygen systems in all Delhi government-run hospitals with more than 100 beds. Of the 38 government hospitals, 15 have more than 100 beds. "Eight of these hospitals already have liquid oxygen supply system. We are working on installing it in the remaining hospitals. The committee has also suggested standard oxygen pipelines and ducting in other hospitals," Walia said.

Sources in the Health department said some Delhi hospitals are still working on older manual manifold-operated oxygen supply systems. "An automatic system of oxygen supply will be installed and the older system can be used as a back-up," a senior official said.

The committee recommended that only maintenance of services should be outsourced to private contractors, but the staff should be government employees.

At Sushruta Trauma Centre, maintenance and oxygen supply had been outsourced to PES Installation Pvt Ltd, which has been blacklisted.

The Health department has decided to bridge the staff shortage in Delhi hospitals and impart regular training to all technicians.

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