How many hospital beds, ICU beds and medical staff does India need to combat Covid 19? If the estimates of eminent surgeon from Pune Dr Devi Prasad Shetty are to be believed, India needs 5 lakh ICU beds and 3.5 lakh medical personnel. This includes 2 lakh nursing staff and 1.5 lakh doctors.
The present medical infrastructure India has is between 75000 to 90000 beds. As of now, the country is reporting 3.5 lakh Covid cases everyday and this number could go up to 5 lakh during the peak of the Covid second wave. Shetty runs 21 hospitals across the country with the name Narayana Health. Even otherwise, there is a 78 per cent shortage of medical specialists in the country. If these estimates are correct, then India will take at least 40 years to bridge the gap.
Shetty suggested that over 2 lakh nurses who were waiting to write their examination, 1.30 lakh doctors preparing for NEET exam for post-graduation courses. He said they should be immediately given degrees and should be appointed as government doctors. There are another 90000 professionals, who have obtained medical degrees from universities abroad. They are waiting to write exams of the Indian Medical Council. He said they should be allowed to practice in the country. This will address the shortage of medical personnel, he said. Will that be possible? Well! My guess is as good as yours.