The Delhi High Court Thursday asked all the big hospitals in the national capital with 100 or more beds to install PSA oxygen plants, saying the bitter experience everyone had due to the acute shortage of medical oxygen, for treating COVID-19 patients, has left a lesson to be learnt.
The High Court said it is high time that at least big hospitals with 100-bedded facilities or more should have their own Pressure Swing Absorption (PSA) oxygen plants which should have a capacity of at least two times of their normal requirement as this would go a long way in reducing dependence on outside sources.
A bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Jasmeet Singh also asked the Delhi government's Principal Secretary (Health) to take up the aspect of PSA oxygen plants with hospitals and file a status report in this regard by May 27. Considering that the pandemic is once in a century and hopefully we will see the end of it sooner or later, we are of the view that larger hospitals with 100-bedded facilities or more should have their own PSA plants which should have a capacity of at least two times of their normal requirement, the bench said.
It also said smaller hospitals and nursing homes with 50 to 100 beds should have PSA plants with a capacity of their normal requirement. It will help go a long way if such a situation again arises in future, the bench said. The bitter experience that everyone has had in Delhi with huge shortage of medical oxygen has certainly left a lesson to be learnt particularly by hospitals, the bench observed.
The court noted an earlier submission made by the doctor of Max Hospital that they will be willing to set up PSA plants in their open parking space, however, the hospital should be allowed to construct multi-level parking at their own cost. The court said since installation of the plants will need some space, it would be appropriate for the municipal corporations and Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to bring about some relaxations in building by-laws with regard to coverage area so that PSA plants can be installed at open parking spaces of the hospitals.
It asked the MCDs and DDA to address these issues for which the amicus curiae will convene a meeting with the two authorities as well as representatives of the hospitals and nursing homes within one week. The court said these directions should be complied with by all the hospitals in the national capital, which comes under the Delhi government, Union government, municipal corporations and others and it should also be followed in case of new hospitals also.
Besides, the court also perused the status reports filed by the Delhi government and Centre stating that some PSA plants are installed in their hospitals and some are in the process of being installed. The Centre's counsel told the court that some plants which are to be installed have not been received as they form part of the aid being received from several countries.
The court said the position as it appears today is that most of the plants are yet to be installed and made operational and added that the installation of those which are being manufactured within India, should be prioritized in case the need arises in future if another wave comes.
It also said the Centre and Delhi government shall designate nodal officers, sufficiently senior, to monitor the aspect of supply and installation of PSA plants in the hospitals here, if not done already.
Regarding augmentation of cryogenic tankers to carry medical oxygen for the national capital which should include the projected increased demand as shown earlier, the high court asked the Central and Delhi government to file their respective status reports.