Viren Shetty, ED & Group COO at Narayana Health, said at present their COVID occupancies were barely anything and vaccinations continued as normal. In case of any eventuality, he said the infrastructure has been set up.
"We bought all the ventilators, we set apart all the COVID ICUs and should be in a position to take care of them. Right now, vaccinations continue as normal COVID occupancies are barely anything," said Shetty.
He added that COVID
is a concern in the sense that it has not been fully eliminated from the country. "But I would echo what all the other hospital groups are saying that patients are not really coming to the hospital. Those that come, come very early and they do get treated. Now, we know a lot more about how to treat these patients than we did before," he said.
The overall COVID numbers, however, still remain stubbornly high. "We do not know if it would manifest itself in some kind of exponential growth curve and a wave shows up at some point in October, November," Shetty said, adding that it was beyond the realm of their ability to plan for but they are prepared.
On Capex plans, he said, since COVID, it has taken a bit of a hold and there is a more modest plan. "We have around Rs 250 crore planned for this one year, but it will scale up. The fact is that a lot of our hospitals are in need of refurbishment, a lot of equipment to be upgraded, and a lot of capacity to be added in new specialties, specifically oncology," he said.
The pandemic has taught that all hospitals
are very short of critical care infrastructure and so over the next five years, Narayana group has an aggressive Capex plan on upgrading their existing infrastructure to be able to accommodate all kinds of critical care patients.
“We won't look to add too much new bed capacity, we have sufficient headway within the existing infrastructure and there are about 50-100 beds that can be added, just to account for the differences in the allocation of how we count the beds,” he added.
For the entire interview, watch the accompanying video