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10 Dec 2023, Edition - 3071, Sunday

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State Government’s failure has propelled private hospital business: KMCH Chairman

Sneha L


State government officials pounce on the attack on their efficiency, say government hospitals are second to none and are under constant upgradation. There is a lot happening in the government health sector, which is welfare oriented that the private sector cannot see beyond its profits, say doctors in the government health sector.

In a rare and candid admission, head of a multi-specialty hospital – KMCH Chairman Dr Nalla G Palanisami said main reason why private hospitals did a good business was the abject failure of the state government to deliver effective and efficient health care to the people.

Dr Palanisami told a private television channel that hospital like his, with many facilities that can put a mall to shame, had to pay back the shareholders. And this can be done only from profits.

Perhaps the head of the KMCH was caught completely off guard by a television reporter’s question on the “mall like five star hospital (KMCH) – with its suite rooms, food courts, stores and the like” and whether it was anywhere near the reach of the common man and more important, the poor.

“Yes, it costs Rs 10,000 for a day in the ICU and ordinary people can’t afford this hospital. This corporate hospital has to pay the shareholders from the profits. How do I do it without charging the patients? Will the money come from the tree?” the good doctor counter questioned.

“Government must take care of education and health. Other countries do not have so many private hospitals like there are in India. As the government has not taken the responsibility, we have these many private hospitals and private schools in India. Take for example, The Coimbatore Medical college hospital building – it was built during the British colonial era. Then, during the independence, the population was around thirty million. Now the population is 130 million. But the building hasn’t changed. It is the same case in every other place. Government has not opened up hospitals to fulfill the people’s needs” he said, laying the blame squarely on the government.

But then those engaged in the government sector did not agree with the KMCH Chairman’s views.

Coimbatore Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) RMO R Soundaravel said “he probably has not visited the hospital at all! Everything has been renovated and maintained. The old buildings are routinely refurbished. This centenary building is nearly three lakh twenty five thousand square feet. A six story building is about to be constructed from this January that is only for surgical purposes, with centralized air conditioning.

“I think the building does not matter, the crowd is what matters. They get fewer patients and more money, we cannot comment on that. How you treat, handle, recognize and diagnose is what is important! Not only the people of Coimbatore, but people from eight districts come here. We treat all the people at free of cost,” Dr Soundaravel said.

State Health Secretary Dr J Radhakrishnan too disagreed with the contention of the head of the private hospital. Elaborating on government efforts in the health sector, Dr Radhakrishnan said “a new ESIC medical college was inaugurated recently in Coimbatore. Late chief minister J Jayalalithaa had also announced a Rs 300 crore project for the upgrading the CMCH in association with JICA (Japan international co-operation agency). The centenary building was inaugurated recently. Facilities will always be improved to ensure the demands of people are met”.

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