Hyderabad: While fingers are being pointed at the Telangana state government for testing fewer people for Covid-19, it appears that a few corporate hospitals in Hyderabad have been secretly conducting coronavirus tests at their premises on their doctors, VIPs and their families. These test results or number of tests do not figure in the daily medical bulletin released by the government, ensuring that
the overall number of infections continues to remain low.
The hospital managements — at least two big names — persuaded certain key figures in the state government, citing the safety of their doctors as the reason, and obtained their nod to conduct the tests, albeit unofficially.
Highly placed sources told Deccan Chronicle that top doctors working in corporate hospitals began worrying after a group of doctors and paramedics in two top corporate hospitals came in contact with coronavirus positive patients in March. Anticipating that this would be an everyday problem in these times of pandemic, they took up the matter with the management and urged them to pull the strings in the government.
Under pressure from the doctors, the management of corporate hospitals met a key minister in the state government and persuaded him to allow them to conduct
tests exclusively for their doctors if they were to get infected or developed
symptoms. They, however, assured the government that the number of tests or
positive cases will not be reflected anywhere in their records.
”It is quid pro quo. It works well for both the hospitals and the government,” a
doctor, who was among those who underwent the test in the hospital he is
working, told this newspaper.
He said the corporate hospitals are not against testing everyone and in fact, the
Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has allowed eight private hospitals
for tests. ”But the government does not want to project the real numbers as
they feel it would go against the interests of the state,” he opined.
The state government has also restrained eight ICMR approved private hospitals and laboratories from conducting tests, perhaps fearing that with the involvement of private players, they would have little control over the numbers, which so far have been kept very low, deliberately.
Though some of these hospitals have procured RT-PCR kits for testing, sources said the government is not releasing the lab codes and the required format to begin the tests.
In Telangana, the state government has notified eight government hospitals as
designated hospitals for the Covid-19 patients. So far, the government has been
maintaining that if Covid-19 tests are done at corporate hospitals, there is a
danger of these hospitals turning into a prime source for the spread of the