Housing Minister V Somanna on Friday said that COVID-19 patients need not wait for the generation of the BU code before they are allotted a bed in a hospital. Somanna, who is the MLA of Govindaraj Nagar constituency in Bengaluru, was speaking at a COVID-19 review meeting alongside Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Commissioner Gaurav Gupta.
A BU code (Bengaluru Urban code) is a number allotted to every patient who tests positive for the coronavirus and wants to get admitted to a hospital in Bengaluru Urban district. The BU code is generated in the BBMP COVID-19 war room and delays have been reported by many patients in the city this week. Patients not only have had to wait till their test results but have to now await further for their BU code to be generated before they are able to get admitted to hospitals.
A COVID-19 patient who was seeking a hospital bed in southern Bengaluru on Thursday said that she had to wait over 24 hours for the generation of the BU code. "We got the report yesterday morning (Wednesday) 24 hours after the test was done but the BU code is not given along with it. We have to wait longer," says the patient's relative.
Multiple hospital administrators in Bengaluru told TNM that they cannot allocate a bed to COVID-19 patients without a BU code since the bed allocation system will still be showing that the beds are vacant. "There is a system in place and without a BU code, I am unable to allocate beds to patients because it will still be reflecting as vacant in the bed allocation system. In our hospital, we can accommodate them in a SARI ward and then shift them to COVID-19 wards after BU code is generated," says Dr Radhakrishna, Medical Superintendent at CV Raman General Hospital.
This is despite a circular issued in 2020 also specifying that patients cannot be denied admission for the want of a BU code.
The minister's statement comes after reports of patients waiting for over 24 hours for the generation of the BU code. "Presently, there has been a technical error in the generation of BU codes for people infected with COVID-19. We have made arrangements for the patients to get admitted to hospitals without the codes and we are striving to control the spread of COVID-19. Bengaluru is seeing a steady rise in COVID-19 cases and we [the BBMP] have experienced officers handling the situation," said Somanna.
He further said that arrangements for ambulances and vaccines were also being made available for the public in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19.
As of April 16, only 2,189 beds are vacant in Government hospitals including beds reserved in private hospitals and medical colleges under government quota and operational COVID-19 Care Centres across the city.