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In Focus

A Medical Paradise in Jalandhar

BBC Heart Care's upcoming second hospital will be a 300-bed multi-super speciality hospital, built at a cost of Rs 100 crore. Rita Dutta writes on the significance of the project and more

The city of Jalandhar, renowned for manufacturing sports goods, hand tools and leather pouches, has always held its place of prominence in the state of Punjab. The city was the hub for Gandhi Government's green revolution of India in early 60s. And now, besides districts like Mohali, Ludhiana and Amritsar, Jalandhar is also fast developing its healthcare infrastructure. With a population of 17 lakh, the city of Jalandhar is dotted with small and medium-sized hospitals, be it the likes of BBC Heart Care and Dr Pruthi Hospital, Oxford Hospital, Mann Medicity, Chanan Devi Hospital, Sri Ram Hospital and Tagore Hospital, all of which have below or around 100 beds, and are akin more to nursing homes.

Now, BBC Heart Care and Dr Pruthi Hospital, which started as the first super speciality private hospital in Punjab at Lajpat Nagar, Jalandhar, way back in 1995, before Fortis (Mohali) and SPS Apollo (Ludhiana) came up in Punjab, has decided to take the State's healthcare level several notches higher. BBC Heart Care has chalked out plans to start a 300-bed multi-super speciality hospital, the largest in Jalandhar.

The New Project

The new hospital's planning has been finalised and will be coming up on a four-acre land at Pathankot Road (purchased in 2006), around five kilometers from the present hospital.

The name of the hospital is not yet decided. The new 300-bed multi super speciality hospital, spread over two lakh square feet, would be centrally air conditioned. Dr CS Pruthi, leading cardiologist, and Chairman and MD of BBC Heart Care, says, "The present hospital cannot be expanded because of infrastructural problems, which is why we are building a different hospital in a more spacious area."

The upcoming hospital would focus on cardiology, cardiac surgery, urology, nephrology, GI, orthopaedics, neurology, neuro-surgery and trauma, endocrinology, diabetes, medical and surgical oncology and mother and child care. Considering that the existing hospital conducted the State's first coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) in 1995, first angiography in the private sector in 1995, first minimally invasive cardiac surgery (MICS) in 1999, first off-pump coronary artery bypass surgery, it is but natural that the upcoming hospital would have state-of-the-art equipment. "It would be the most hi-tech hospital in this region," says Dr Pruthi. The hospital is expecting patients to flock in not only from Jalandhar and its neighbouring districts, but also from other states and countries.

The cost of this project is estimated to be Rs 100 crore and would be funded by a mix of debt and equity. With Arihant Engineers as the project consultant for the hospital, the construction of the hospital would start by April 2010 and would be completed within three years. The first phase of the project would be commissioned with 135 beds, second with 50 beds and the third with all 300 beds. When fully completed, the hospital would have basement plus ground plus five storeys. The completed hospital would have five operation theatres (OT), two cath labs and 50 ICU beds. The third phase would also include a separate residential complex for doctors.

The hospital would recruit around 500 employees (including doctors, nurses, para-medicals and administrative staff). Eyeing medical tourism, the hospital would construct a dedicated wing for international patients. The present hospital receives a steady stream of NRI Punjabi patients, mainly from the UK and Canada. Within the premises of the hospital, a separate building would be built for patient attendants. The hospital would have only full-time doctors.

Why Jalandhar?

"The present hospital cannot be expanded because of infrastructural
problems, which is why we are building a different hospital"

- Dr CS Pruthi
Chairman and MD
BBC Heart Care

When asked why the second project has also been planned in Jalandhar and not in any other promising pockets of Punjab, Dr Pruthi cites multiple factors that have led to lack of quality healthcare facilities in Jalandhar. "The Government healthcare infrastructure is inadequate and unable to provide the necessary services and treatment facilities. The private players are un-organised, of poor quality, unhygienic and many are guilty of illegal practises. Most clinics are driven by the specialities of the doctors and have failed to adopt a multi speciality model, thereby limiting their activity. Comprehensive services are not easily available under one roof for patients in the catchment area."

Besides the above, his reasons for choosing Jalandhar are also emotional. "I belong to this place and have been practicing in Jalandhar ever since the completion of my medical education. This town has given me an identity and I owe much more to it. It would be meaningful if I did something for the people of this city/region," he says.

Besides unavailability of good healthcare facilities in Jalandhar, the greater demand for quality medical facilities is caused by high-paying capability of NRI community, high per capita income, high incidence of non communicable diseases and cross border travel for highly specialised care. According to Dr Mandeep Kaur, Director, BBC Heart Care, "The existing demand supply gap for hospital beds and quality healthcare in Jalandhar and the surrounding areas, with a pool of qualified specialists and paramedical staff, presents a huge opportunity that needs to be plugged in by way of a proposed multi speciality/super speciality hospital."

Though the first two projects are located in Jalandhar, Dr Pruthi intends to branch out his group in other parts of the State. "After the work for the second hospital starts, I would begin working on building an empire of 800 hospital beds in Punjab in the next five years. I plan to have four more hospitals in Punjab at Bhatinda, Patiala, Ludhiana and Amritsar. These hospitals would be similar to the upcoming hospital in Jalandhar," says Dr Pruthi.

With groups like SPS Apollo, Fortis Healthcare Limited, Indus Healthcare and now BBC Heart Care planning to consolidate their position in Punjab with more hospitals in multiple locations, the State's poor healthcare facilities would definitely be a thing of the past.



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