The Gujarat High Court on August 24 said that the COVID-19 situation in the state is 'quite frightening', directing the Chief Secretary to form a committee of five senior IAS officers and prepare a report on the condition of all civil and government hospitals tasked with coronavirus treatment.
A division bench of Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice JB Pardiwala said that the panel should prepare a comprehensive report regarding the condition at all government or civil hospitals after looking at the deficiencies so that they can be "cured and taken care of".
"The picture that emerges as regards the conditions prevailing as on date in the state of Gujarat is quite frightening. Although all the necessary steps are being taken to combat the situation of COVID-19 pandemic, yet the machinery needs to be gear up and the state should be prepared to meet with the worst of the situation," the court said in its order.
The High Court's order was a response to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking details of the Gujarat government's measures and efforts to deal with the pandemic.
"There is a lot of hue and cry at various civil hospitals regarding the treatment, services etc," the court said, adding that it should be informed about conditions at all hospitals across Gujarat, particularly Vadodara, Rajkot, Bhavnagar and Gandhinagar.
"We expect the committee members to effectively interact with the resident doctors, interns, superintendence, nursing staff, and above all, the patients and their family members attending the patients in the hospital," it said.
The high court bench has asked the committee to submit its report by September 4.
Appreciating the frequent visits of Gujarat Chief Minister and Health Minister to Surat, the court said that they need to put in similar efforts for all major cities where COVID-19 cases are rising.
The court also enquired if any safety-cum-checking mechanism is in place to ensure that patients in private hospitals are actually being given the drugs being provided by the state free of cost.