Can add option for non-COVID-19 medical aid in helpline: BMC

Mumbai, Jun 5 (PTI) The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) told the Bombay High Court on Friday that it was willing to include an additional dial-in option in its existing 1916 COVID-19 and non-COVID helpline, for people seeking general medical assistance.

BMC counsel and senior advocate Anil Sakhre told a bench led by Chief Justice Dipankar Datta that its 1916 helpline number currently has four dial-in IVR options, i.e. a caller dials 1 for doctors, 2 for ambulances, 3 for emergency, beds, and other queries related to COVID-19, and 4 for non- COVID-19 patients.

However, it could think about providing option number 5 as well for non-COVID-19 patients seeking medical assistance, to ensure quicker and better response for them.

The submission was made while the court was hearing a bunch of petitions filed by activists and NGOs, seeking that the state ensure uninterrupted health care for those suffering from ailments other than coronavirus.

The pleas filed through senior counsel Gayatri Singh, and advocate Ankit Kulkarni, seeks, among other things that the BMC provide adequate mobile health clinics, beds, health infrastructure, and a helpline for non COVID patients.

The petitioners had earlier submitted a list of suggestions on the court's direction, to the civic body for it to help aid non covid patients. These included a helpline number and having mobile clinics across the city.

On Friday, the BMC told the court that it had nine mobile clinics functioning across six municipal wards in the city.

It also submitted that its 1916 helpline was being managed in three shifts by a team of doctors from the KEM , Sion, and Nair hospitals in the city, by ambulance coordinators, and by its control room operators to provide constant help to those seeking information and health care assistance.

It said that the civic body was planning to increase the number of operators in each shift.

'If needed, additional option can be added on same number as IVR 5,' the BMC said in a written submission before the court.

The petitioners' counsel Ankit Kulkarni urged the court to direct the civic body to increase the number of mobile clinics since it has more than 20 administrative wards in the city. PTI AYA NP NP