Speculation was rife about the opening of the Telangana Institute of Medical Sciences (TIMS) after a tweet from the Telangana Health Minister Eatala Rajender claimed that the facility was ready to accept COVID-19 patients. The tweet created a buzz about whether the much delayed opening of the dedicated COVID-19 hospital was finally about to happen.
The Telangana Health Minister’s office stated on Monday that TIMS is expected to start accepting patients from Wednesday, July 8.
On Monday, Eatala Rajender tweeted: “TIMS is ready to serve #COVID19 patients” with a 45-second promotional video. The video claims that TIMS has a bed capacity of 1,224 of which 1,000 beds have oxygen capacity and 100 beds have ventilators.
Speaking to TNM, the spokesperson for the Health Minister’s office stated that the hospital is expected to begin admitting patients from Wednesday. This, however, is not the first time a date has been announced for TIMS’ opening.
It was on April 19 that Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao (KCR) announced the conversion of the Gachibowli sports stadium and the adjacent 15-floor sports complex along with over 9 acres of open land to be transferred to the Health department. The plan was to convert the stadium into a medical facility and the sports complex into TIMS, to treat COVID-19 patients.
KCR had claimed then that TIMS will be open for the public from April 20. Since then new dates for the opening have been announced a few times. The former in-charge of TIMS Operations, G Nagender, had claimed that the hospital will begin functioning from May 18.
Media reports had indicated that the sewerage and piping work for providing oxygen outlets to beds was still underway at the hospital even in June.
Even the government order granting permission to the Health department to recruit staff came only on June 2. The order from the Director of Public Health and Family Welfare tasks the department to engage clinical and non-clinical staff for 662 services in various categories on a contract basis and even on deputation for a period of one year. The invitation of applications began only by June 15.
On June 25, after a visit to TIMS the Health minister had claimed that the hospital will begin admitting patients from June 28 or 29 onwards.
The delay in the opening of the hospital had also turned political in the state with both the BJP and the Telangana Congress slamming the TRS government. Telangana Congress working president and Malkajgiri MP A Revanth Reddy even visited TIMS on June 15 to inspect the work. The MP claimed that the hospital was far from becoming operational soon and alleged that it was being used as a dump yard.