Photo by camilo jimenez on Unsplash

The shocking incidents of people dying in ambulances, on roads or at homes as Bengaluru hospitals deny accepting patients without a BU (Bangalore Urban) number, COVID-19 test report or letter from BBMP have drawn severe backlash towards Karnataka state government. On Tuesday, BBMP Commissioner BH Anil Kumar and Health Commissioner Pankaj Kumar Pandey, issued a circular ordering all hospitals in Bengaluru to admit patients with breathing distress regardless of their COVID status.

The government's decision is the need of the hour and brings relief to the people of Bengaluru as they no longer have to worry about being a victim of medical negligence. Several incidents were reported during the lockdown, where patients were flat out refused treatment for not bearing the BU code. With the new govt order, hospitals will be held accountable for sending away patients.

108 ambulance tending to patients

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According to the order, 108 ambulance service has to shift all patients with breathing distress even when the COVID-19 tests are yet to determined. "In such cases, it is clarified that hospitals shall not insist on any letter from BBMP or lab reports, or any BU (Bangalore Urban) number. Any violation of this admission protocol shall attract serious action under the provisions of the Karnataka Private Medical Establishment Act and Disaster Management Act. Also, till the Covid-19 result comes out, the hospital shall treat the patient at Covid-19 rates for government referred patients," the circular said.

In absence of BU numbers assigned by the BBMP, COVID-19 patients who are symptomatic and or mildly symptomatic can show any SMS alert on Covid-19 positive status from an authorised source, any Covid-19 positive alert in Aarogya Setu app, accredited lab report including in electronic form to 108 ambulance and avail medical services.

In case the patient cannot provide any proof, 108 ambulance must shift the patient to a COVID Care Centre. In the case of SARI, only name and mobile number are mandatory and the sample referral form number is optional.

Below is the circular issued by the government with regards to shifting of COVID positive patients without BU numbers to a hospital:

108 Ambulance for Bengaluru