Govt to bear costs of private hospitals treating Covid-19 patients

  • Dhaka Tribune May 10th, 2020
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Reuters

However, private medical professionals will not be eligible for the same financial facilities as government employees

The government has decided to bear the operational costs of undersigned private hospitals treating Covid-19 patients. Medical professionals and others working at these hospitals will be paid by the government.

However, private medical professionals will not be eligible for the same financial facilities as government employees. Government medical professionals are set to receive bonus salaries and will also get monetary aid if they contract or die from Covid-19.

Medical professionals at private hospitals will, however, still get accommodation facilities at hotels.

The Health Service Division under the Health and Family Welfare Ministry recently signed an MoU with Dhaka’s Holy Family Red Crescent Medical College and Hospitals in this regard. Anwar Khan Medical College Hospital, Dhanmondi, and Impulse hospital are also preparing to treat coronavirus patients.

“We will bear the operational costs of private hospitals that treat Covid-19 patients,” said Habibur Rahman Khan, additional secretary (Admin) of the Health Service Division and Health Ministry spokesperson.

“Under operational costs, we will bear salaries of the doctors, nurses and other staff who will serve Covid-19 patients in the hospitals. We will provide medical equipment if necessary and, obviously, protective equipment for the front line fighters, including PPE, masks, and gloves,” he added.

The Holy Family Red Crescent Medical College and Hospital authorities are unable to provide support to medical professionals on the front lines right now, as they have arrears for three months.

According to Bangladesh Doctors Foundation (BDF), more than 50% of private hospitals, including Holy Family, have been unable to pay salaries since March.

Dr Niaz Morshed, director (medical affairs) of Holy Family Medical College Hospital, said: “As the government will pay the salaries, we will gradually be able to clear dues and that may help the doctors, nurses, and other staff.

“After clearing the dues, we are planning to continue salaries,” he told Dhaka Tribune.

According to Holy Family Red Crescent Medical College and Hospital, around 1,000 doctors, nurses and other staff will serve Covid-19 patients after the creation of a roster.

“We will start coronavirus treatment from next week, as some previously admitted patients are still under treatment. After releasing them, we will redesign the hospital for Covid-19 treatment,” Dr Niaz added.

On April 13, Health Minister Zahid Maleque declared that private facilities would be allowed to conduct Covid-19 testing and treatment.

Why will private medical professionals be denied bonuses?

Medical professionals employed at private hospitals have demanded the same facilities as those of the government, as they will undertake the same risks when treating Covid-19 patients.

Veteran physician Prof Moniruzzaman Bhuiyan said: “If only governmental hospital doctors and staff receive incentives, then private hospital doctors will be demoralized. We urge the authorities to provide the same incentives for all who care for those affected by the coronavirus.”

Mostofa Jalal Mohiuddin, president of Bangladesh Medical College Hospital, said owners of private hospitals met with the secretary of the Health, Medical Education & Family Welfare Division on April 12 to demand the incentives declared by the government.

“As private medical professionals do not work under government management, it is not possible to provide them with the same facilities,” said Health Service Division Additional Secretary Habibur Rahman Khan.

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