1,000-bedded hospital with 250 ICU beds operationalised

A 1,000-bedded with 250 intensive care units (ICU) beds Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel COVID Hospital was operationalised on Sunday. Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh along with Home Minister Amit Shah and Minister of Health & Family Welfare Dr Harsh Vardhan visited the Hospital which was was built in a record time of 12 days by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) along with Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), the Armed Forces, Tata Sons and other industry players. Raksha Mantri was also accompanied by Delhi Chief Minister Shri Arvind Kejriwal and Minister of State for Home Shri G Kishan Reddy. 

Singh appreciated the efforts of stakeholders in building this facility in such a short span of time. The national capital is currently experiencing a surge in number of COVID-19 infections with an increasing number of patients requiring medical care. An urgent need to augment the existing hospital beds capacity of Delhi for the COVID-19 patients was discussed between MHA and MoD on the modalities of deploying a 1,000 bed hospital in a span of less than 14 days. The DRDO was asked to establish the hospital.

It undertook the design, development and operationalisation of the facility on a war footing. With the permission from the Indian Air Force (IAF), land situated near the New Delhi Domestic Airport Terminal T1 was identified and construction work by DRDO commenced the 23rd of June at the site on Ulan Batar Road adjacent to Controller General of Defence Accounts (CGDA) Headquarters.

The hospital will be operated by medical team of doctors, nurses and support staff from the Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS) while the facility will be maintained by the DRDO. Additionally, for the mental wellbeing of patients, the hospital has a dedicated DRDO managed psychological counselling centre.

The COVID-19 patients referred by the district administration will be admitted and treated free of cost at this facility. Critical cases will be referred to All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi.

The project has been funded with major contribution of Tata Sons. Other contributors are Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL), Astra Microwave Products Limited (AMPL), Sri Venkateswara Engineers, Brahmos Private Limited, Bharat Forge and the DRDO employees voluntarily contributing one day salary.

The unique centrally air-conditioned medical facility is spread over 25,000 square metres and is equipped with 250 ICU beds. Each ICU bed is equipped with monitoring equipment and ventilator. The infrastructure is built with negative internal pressure gradient for safe contagion containment. The facility has been engineered using rapid fabrication technique based on octanorm modules.

The hospital consists of a separate reception-cum-patient admission block, medical block with pharmacy and laboratory, duty doctors and nurses accommodation and four modular patient blocks each consisting of 250 beds. The corridor network has been designed to keep the patient’s movement separate from the doctors and staff movement. Sanitation facilities and toilets are situated between the blocks for easy access to patients and facility personnel.

The patient blocks are self-sufficient with facilities for patients and medical care staff. Patient facilities include oxygen supply to each bed, x-ray, electrocardiogram (ECG), haematological test facilities, ventilators, COVID Test Lab, Wheel Chairs, Stretchers and other medical equipment. The DRDO developed COVID-19 technologies productionised by the Industry in the last 3 months such as ventilators, decontamination tunnels, personal protective equipment (PPEs), N95 masks, contact-free sanitiser dispensers, sanitisation chambers and medical robots trolleys will be utilised at the facility.

The facility will be secured with security staff, closed-circuit television (CCTV) surveillance and access control systems. The hospital is equipped with an integrated fire safety and control system. Environmental safety and waste disposal processes have been built in to the design of operations. A large parking area has been designated for staff, public, ambulances and firefighting services.

The hospital is a unique effort made possible by the synergy between DRDO, MHA, MoHFW, the Armed Forces, industry, South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) and Delhi Administration who have come together in tackling this emergency.