The government is all set to scrap its project of the Rs 120-crore super speciality hospital at Bambolim for which the foundation...
BY RAMNATH N PAI RAIKAR | NT
PANAJI: The government is all set to scrap its project of the Rs 120-crore super speciality hospital at Bambolim for which the foundation stone was laid two years ago on the Republic Day, and in turn, will convert Goa Medical College and hospital, the apex health institute in the state, into a super speciality hospital by linking all super speciality faculties in the form of cardio-thoracic unit, cancer ward, cath lab or a catheterisation laboratory and so on, to it.
The proposed hospital was to be a joint venture of the Goa government and Elbit India Healthcare (EIH), a subsidiary of the Elbit Imaging Ltd of Israel. The Goa government was supposed to have 15 per cent equity stake in the ambitious hospital, proposed to be set up on a 10,000 sq mt land granted to Elbit India Healthcare on lease for a period of 60 years.
Stating that there seems to be no need for a separate super-speciality hospital in Goa, the Health Minister, Mr Laxmikant Parsekar in an exclusive interview with ‘The Navhind Times’ said that the GMC hospital itself is enough to cater such health services to Goans, if it is a little fine-tuned. “I recently visited the GMC hospital and found that its functioning has slowed down a bit due to the unnecessary pressures, which can easily be eased,” he said. The Health Minister further said that the GMC hospital is experiencing the stress mainly because it is overburdened by the referral cases from the district hospitals, half of which can be handled successfully at the district level itself.
Maintaining that the doctors at the district hospitals, who without any rationale refer their cases to the GMC, would now be made answerable to such decisions, the Health Minister stated that only medical cases of tertiary nature or complicated medical cases would henceforth be referred to the GMC hospital.
“I am fully aware that the GMC is also an institution for training future doctors as well as carrying out medical research activities, and therefore, needs some breathing space,” he noted, mentioning that perceptions about surgeries scheduled at the GMC being unnecessarily postponed or patients not receiving good treatment without the influence of the politicians at this medical institution would soon be eliminated by undertaking necessary improvement.
Speaking further, the Health Minister said that he has already taken a review of the primary as well as the community health centres in Goa and given directions that the primary level medical cases should be tackled at these health centres, as far as possible. “The primary as well as the community health centres are provided with sonography and the X-ray facilities, besides adequate number of doctors, nurses and technicians,” he said, admitting that nevertheless, patients do face inconvenience due to the absence of either a doctor or a technician handling the sonography/ X-ray machines.
“Therefore, there should be no problem in recruiting additional medical officers and nurses,” the Health Minister observed, revealing that he has already told the staff in these primary as well as the community health centres to refrain from going on frequent leaves.
“The medical staff has been told to discard their belief that they are doing some favour to the patients by providing medical services, for they are being paid for the same,” Mr Parsekar said. He pointed out that the government doctors who carry out private practice or those who force the patients to approach private practitioners have also been given a friendly advice to avoid such things, and if they don’t mend their ways, then the government would be forced to initiate action against them. “I have made this aspect clear to the government doctors at the meeting of the heads of the department of the GMC hospital as well as during the GMC gathering,” he noted.
The Health Minister also briefed that he is very much interested in increasing the number of seats for the MBBS course at the GMC. “The hospital has already complied with all the conditions of the Medical Council of India, and we should be able to increase the number of these seats from 100 to 150 from this year,” he hoped.
Reacting to the modification of the Swarnajayanti Bima Yojana as announced by the Chief Minister, Mr Manohar Parrikar in his budget speech, which would increase the medical insurance benefit cover to Rs 2 lakh from the existing Rs 60,000 per family, the Health Minister said that the increase in money would now not only allow an option to the patients and their relatives to approach the desired private hospital, but also make more private hospitals voluntarily come into the ambit of this scheme. He also predicted that this situation would create a healthy competition between the private hospitals, which, in turn, will force them to improve their infrastructure as well as medical services available with them.
“Furthermore, the government proposes to undertake the task of registration of all private hospitals as well as their gradation as per their standards,” the Health Minister said, noting that his main aim in running the health department is to ensure that Goans lead a healthy life. “Perhaps, therefore, I will not deliberately go into the vindictive exercise of ordering an inquiry against those who had misused the public funds earmarked for health sector, for their own benefit,” he observed, pointing out, “However, if I find anything illegal done by the previous government in health sector, during my functioning as the Health Minister, then of course, I would not be able to turn a blind eye to it and the law would take its own course,” he concluded.