Kolkata: Nucleus of the East
Once a mecca for medical care, Kolkata's reputation as a
medical hub took a dive in the '70s. It's retrieving its lost glory with existing
hospitals augmenting their facilities and a slew of new projects dotting the
landscape, says Rita Dutta
a city that had nurtured legendary doctors. Like Bharat Ratna Dr Bidhan Chandra
Roy, an accomplished physician and academician, who established the Indian Institute
of Mental Health and Infectious Diseases Hospital. Like Dr AK Basu, who successfully
performed the first cardiac surgery in this country at Nil Ratan Sarkar Medical
College and Hospital. Like Prof AK Saha who performed his leading experiment
on 'dislocation of shoulder joint' at a city hospital. Like Sir UN Brahmachari
who synthesised Urea Stibamine, the cure for kala azar. Like Sir Ronald Ross
who did invaluable research for the cause of malaria, for which he received
the Nobel prize, at SSKM Hospital. The city gave the country its first medical
college - Medical College and Hospital, Kolkata.
The public hospitals in Kolkata, be it SSKM, Kolkata Medical
College or Nil Ratan Sarkar Medical College, were a melting pot for the best
clinical acumen and a crucible for medical treatment and research, in the heydays
of 1960s, which set new benchmarks for other institutes. Not just West Bengal,
but patients from Bihar, Orissa, and the seven North Eastern states flocked
to Kolkata for treatment.
Days of Decadence
However, in the period from '70s to the '80s, healthcare services in Kolkata
began a downward spiral from their position of strength. As political turmoil
and union uprisings derailed development and complacency set in, the overloaded
public healthcare system failed to cope with the enormous inflow of patients.
While the South emerged as a hub for medical care, public hospitals in Kolkata
started lagging behind in technology and clinical acumen. The best clinical
brains in the public sector either migrated overseas or joined the fast mushrooming
private setups (which were mere nursing homes then). The days of glory were
The immediate effect was that patients from Bengal and Eastern
India lost faith in Kolkata's healthcare facilities and started surging down
South or to Mumbai for specialised medical care. If it was ophthalmology, people
opted for Sankara Nethralaya or Aravind Eye Hospital, for neuro-surgery people
went to CMC, Vellore and for oncology, people sought care from Apollo, Chennai
or TMH, Mumbai. Most people preferred the South as the treatment was much cheaper
BM Birla Heart Institute prides in being the first hospital in India to
Woodlands was set up about 60
years ago as East India Clinic
Bell Vue Clinic was started in 1967 as a nursing home
CMRI, established in 1969, was the first corporate hospital of Eastern
Winds of Change
is attracting corporates is the fact that land and manpow are comparably
cost effective in Kolkata"
- Suyash Borar
BM Birla Heart Research Centre
is projected to face a massive shortage of 13,735 beds in 2011"
- Sandip Chaudhuri
highly qualified doctors who had moved overseas from Kolkata have started
- PL Mehta
Neotia Healthcare Initiative
The darkness that engulfed the healthcare vista of the city
for two decades started clearing only by the mid-'90s with the advent of hospitals
like Peerless Hospital, Ruby Hospital, AMRI and BM Birla (the cardiac wing of
GP Birla group that was already running CMRI). The city's healthcare landscape
got a further boost in the decade beginning 2000 with the establishment of hospitals
like Apollo Gleneagles, Wockhardt (now Fortis), RTIICS, Bhagirathi Neotia Woman
and Child Care Centre, Desun, Sankara Nethralaya and Columbia Asia.
And today, the momentum has picked up further. The existing hospitals are scaling
up their bed strength, setting up multiple units in the city and exploring other
business models. New entrants like Global Hospitals, Ohio Cardiology, Tata Medical
Centre, Hinduja Healthcare and Israeli Group Elbit, have either planned a project
in the city or are exploring opportunities. Major south-based groups like Narayana
Hrudayalaya, Apollo Hospitals, Sankara Nethralaya, and Aravind Eye have set
up units in the city either as standalone projects or JVs. Hyderabad-based LVPEI
helped CMRI set up its ophthalmology centre. This year, while Medica Super Specialty
Hospital and Institute of Neuro Sciences were inaugurated, Fortis Hospital in
EM Bypass, Tata Medical Centre and Ohio Cardiology in Rajarhat and AMRI in Salt
Lake are scheduled for commissioning.
Besides corporate governance and the customer friendly approach of hospitals,
technology has been a hallmark for development. Whether linear accelerator with
IGRT and IMRT or radio surgery for cancer, beating heart surgery in cardiac
sciences, deep brain stimulation in neuro-surgery, ocular oncology in ophthalmology,
steel OT with laminar airflow, 64 slice CT, 3 Telsa MRI, JCI and NABH accreditations
for hospitals or NABL and CAP for laboratories, Kolkata has it all.
So, what turned the tide of bad times and spurred such an
unprecedented growth? Here are some factors:
Untapped market: There was and continues to be a glaring
gap between demand and supply in this region. As per data available for 2008,
the total number of sanctioned beds in Kolkata stood at 26,739 for an estimated
population of 51 lakh. With population served per bed ratio being at 188 as
against three to four beds per 1,000 population in developed countries, does
the city need more beds? Of course, says Sandip Chaudhuri, Assistant Manager,
Business Development, HOSMAC Consultancy, Kolkata: "The city just does
not cater to the city's population alone. The catchment area is the entire state,
neighbouring states and neighbouring countries like Bangladesh, Nepal, and Bhutan
as well. According to a study which took stock of the demand supply situation
(considering local demand, demand from neighbouring districts and countries),
Kolkata is projected to face a massive shortage of 13,735 beds in 2011."
Dr Suresh K, Assistant Manager, Business Development, Elbit India Healthcare,
explains why his group is scouting for land for a tertiary care hospital in
the city, "Though the hospital industry in Kolkata is growing at a fast
pace, there exist some lacunae which we aim to plug and offer the citizens of
Kolkata truly world class medical services."
According to Dr RM Mukherjee, Medical Director, Woodlands
Nursing Home, the oldest private healthcare institute in the city, the realisation
that something needed to be done urgently to stem the tide gained momentum.
"With the success of the Apollo group, people became aware that healthcare
could be a profitable business proposition, not merely an outlet for charitable
work for individuals or business houses," he avers.
RTIICS became a super specialty hospital in 2004
Ruby General Hospital is adding radiation therapy with linear accelerator
Apollo Gleneagles is the he only JCI-accredited hospital in Eastern India
Bhagirathi Neotia Woman and Child Care Centre is coming up with a chain
of community clinics
Strategic Location: Kolkata is strategically located
and is considered the gateway to the East. It is also gradually becoming the
hub for medical tourism, especially from the countries located near the Eastern
Says Anurag Dubey, Industry Manager, Health IT and Healthcare
Delivery Practice, South Asia, Middle East and North Africa, Frost and Sullivan,
"As Kolkata became the only growing city in the Eastern region, it became
the hub for the entire region for medical treatments and services, thus the
potential for healthcare facilities and services increased." The poor state
of Government's healthcare infrastructure also fuelled the growth of private
Change of Perspective: The reforms had much to do with
the change in perception of hospital management. According to Dr Rupali Basu,
CEO, Apollo Gleneagles Hospital, "It's only in the '90s that the thinking
that hospitals should be managed by professional managers and not doctors gained
ground. As professionally qualified hospital managers held the reins, hospitals
became quality conscious, competitive and become far more professional and patient-friendly
in their approach."
People's Demand: Demand from patients for better service
could no longer be ignored. "The paying customer in the wired world is
increasingly aware of the trends, facilities, and rights enjoyed by customers
in other parts. In such a competitive scenario, the healthcare facilities in
Kolkata cannot afford to remain isolated and immune to the changes taking place.
They have read the message on the wall - 'shape up or ship out'," says
A wave of quality consciousness swept some leading institutes.
Thus, BM Birla became the first hospital in India to get NABH, while Apollo
Gleneagles Hospitals became the only hospital in Eastern India to have JCI.
AHEI's Role: Experts also acknowledge the proactive
role played by the Association of Hospitals of Eastern India (AHEI), a consortium
of 15 private hospitals, to streamline the healthcare system in Kolkata. "Right
from the beginning, the association has been working with the Government to
help identify gaps and modify the Clinical Establishment Act and other such
regulations that thwarted growth. It also laid down dos and don'ts for various
hospitals, underscoring the importance of corporate governance, patient friendliness
and transparency," says Dr Basu. In the wake of the recent ransacking of
Peerless Hospital by angry mob for allegedly not admitting an accident victim,
AHEI played an active role in mediating with all possible fora, the media, industry
and the Government to prevent such incidents in the future.
Reverse Brain Drain: Says PL Mehta, Director, Neotia
Healthcare Initiative, "What had given the movement an added fillip was
that several highly qualified doctors who had moved overseas from Kolkata and
Bengal started returning." s
Cost: Says Dr Vishal Beri, COO, Hinduja Healthcare,
which is exploring an opportunity to set up a hospital in Kolkata, "As
medical treatment is becoming prohibitively expensive, especially in cities
like Mumbai, the focus now needs to shift to other metros, and Kolkata is most
certainly one of the preferred choices."
Adds Suyash Borar, COO, BM Birla Heart Research Centre, "What is attracting
corporates is the fact that land and manpower, the most essential factors for
the growth of this sector, are comparably cost effective in Kolkata."
The Early Movers
were the first hospital to provide standardised packages for cardiac surgeries"
- Dr Ashutosh Raghuvanshi
is are the first hospital in Eastern India to start IMRT in cancer"
- DN Agarwal
are the first tertiary care hospital in this region to have 24x7 emergency
- Rupak Barua
It's interesting to note that most of the first movers in
private sectors, except for CMRI, were all in the form of nursing homes.
Woodlands Nursing Home: Woodlands was set up about
60 years ago as East India Clinic, running two nursing homes. In 1959, it moved
to the current site at Alipore Road with 75 beds. Subsequently, the name has
changed a number of times, as has the nature of the institution. Says Dr Mukherjee,
"It was set up by around 600 'member companies' to provide good healthcare
for their executives and family members." At the time, it was set up as
a premier institution with state-of-the-art facilities and cost around Rs 35
lakh. Today, it has grown, in various phases, to a total of 230 beds.
"Woodlands was the first private hospital in the city to start cardiac
surgery as well as kidney transplantation, to use lasers in urology, to have
harmonic scalpels for surgeons, to give a few examples. The trend continues
with installation of the first 3 Tesla MRI and Dual-Source CT Scanner in the
last few months," says Dr Mukherjee. Woodlands is currently being overhauled,
be it medical equipment, infrastructure or processes. Simultaneously, some new
programmes like heart failure clinic, neurospine services etc., are being introduced.
Belle Vue Clinic: This multi-speciality hospital from
the MP Birla Group was established in 1967 as a nursing home. Thereafter, it
was managed by late Priyamvada Birla, followed by late Rajendra Singh Lodha
and now is being looked after by Harsh Vardhan Lodha, trustee and member of
the Managing Committee.
Over the years, the clinic introduced the first ICCU/CCU ICCU in the private
sector in 1971 and thereafter, a dedicated dialysis unit, followed by a kidney
transplantation unit and to support this, the first tissue typing department
in Eastern India. Under one roof, the hospital provides all diagnostics, including
64 Slice CT Scan, 1.5 Tesla MRI, Digital X-Ray etc. Says P Tandon, CEO, Belle
Vue Clinic, "Gradually, the clinic started diversifying from one discipline
to another, as a result of which it is today a full-fledged hospital having
168 beds for all disciplines of medicine." Another 46 beds exclusively
for eye care under the name of Priyamvada Birla Aravind Eye Hospital was started
in its annexe building. Shortly, the hospital will be expanding to become 304
beds. It is also opening three state-of-the-art departments, namely invasive
cardiology, mother and child, and blood bank, for which a 17,000 square feet
area is nearing completion. "Thus, the only discipline of invasive cardiology,
which was absent in our hospital, will also be made available," says Tandon.
The Calcutta Medical Research Institute (CMRI): Founded
in 1969 by late BM Birla, CMRI is a part of the Rs 5,000-crore CK Birla Group.
This was the first corporate hospital of Eastern India. Says Rupak Barua, COO,
CMRI, "There were a few nursing homes before us, but they had no OPD or
emergency department. We are the first tertiary care hospital in this region
to have 24x7 emergency facility."
This 400-bed multi specialty hospital pioneered the city's first stroke clinic
with a view to provide comprehensive stroke care with latest clot buster treatment
or thrombolysis. It has introduced Eastern India's first sleep laboratory for
conducting sleep studies. The hospital installed the first MRI with Ambience
in a hospital setting in Eastern India in 1993. "Our radiology department
is fully digitalised running on PACS," says Barua.
It has a geriatric clinic and a lifestyle management clinic and has centres
of excellence in neuro-sciences, urology, GI, critical care, cosmetic and mother
and child. It started Survodaya Eyecare with technical support from LV Prasad
Eye Institute to develop a tertiary eye care centre with focus on research and
training. Recently, it has introduced an eye bank.
CMRI runs DNB courses in six disciplines. It is the only institute in Eastern
India that offers DNB in Gastroenterology. CMRI is also one of the very few
centres selected for the MRCS examination conducted by the Royal College of
Surgeons, UK. It also has a nursing college. "In the pipeline is an IVF
centre. We will soon introduce a SAP-based ERP solution to ensure quality and
bring about complete transparency in billing and other operating procedures,"
Kothari Medical Centre: The hospital, located in Alipore
Road, was founded in 1971 by philanthropist GD Kothari. It is a 340-bed super
In the '90s
BM Birla Heart Research Centre: Hailing from the same
GP Birla/CK Birla Group that runs CMRI, BM Birla Heart Research Centre is the
cardiac hospital of the group. The hospital, founded in 1989, is the first super
specialty hospital in India to receive the National Accreditation Board for
Hospital and Healthcare (NABH) and also NABH re-accreditation. Besides, it is
the first hospital in India to be awarded ISO 9001, ISO 14001, has the first
hospital laboratory in India to be accredited by National Accreditation Board
for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) and College of American Pathologists
(CAP), the first private nursing college in Eastern India with BSc, MSc and
CVT nursing courses and the first hospital in Eastern India to initiate air-ambulance
Says Borar, "Some of our clinical achievements include being the first
in India to conduct keyhole surgery to close a hole in the heart, to do Video
Assisted Thoracic Surgery (VAT) to close PDA, perform Extra Corporeal Membrane
Oxygenation on a neonate for respiratory distress, the first in Eastern India
to perform angioplasty from the wrist in interventional cardiology, and cardiac
resynchronisation therapy by biventricular pacing, and the first in Asia to
perform 'Dynamic Cardiomyoplasty'."
The centre has incorporated the latest generation of cardiac equipment like
Philips Allura F D 10 which is the latest cardiac care system having special
features such as stent boost, and has a 3D reconstruction and rotational angiography
facility, the first in the eastern region comparable to international standards.
The hospital also has a Rotablator System for CTO calcified lesion, a 3-dimensional
echocardiography which can be done on adults, paediatric patients as well as
on a foetus. "Our centre also has a department of Nuclear Medicine which
has a unique Dual Head Infina Gamma Camera which would provide economic and
accurate non-invasive diagnosis of artery disease," says Borar.
Peerless Hospital and BK Roy Research Centre: This
is a 300-bed multi specialty hospital at Panchasayar from the Peerless Group
that runs business in real estate, finance, travel and security. Commissioned
across nine acres, the hospital was started in 1994 with 75 beds. Says Dr PK
Nayak, Medical Superintendent, "Peerless Hospital since its inception has
been responsible for changing the orthopaedics scenario of West Bengal. This
was possible due to influx of latest technological advancements and cutting
edge instruments by us." Total joint replacement was started in Peerless
Hospital from April 1994. "By adopting Computer Assisted Orthopaedic Surgical
System, total knee replacement procedure can be executed more accurately,"
says Dr Nayak. In the pipeline are plans for upgrading the department of gastro-enterology
and also urology at a later date.
Ruby General Hospital: The hospital was founded by
US-based NRI gynaecologist Dr Kamal K Dutta with his entrepreneur brother Sajal
Dutta and Dr Binod Prasad Sinha. The hospital was started as a 130-bed unit
in 1995. Most of the instruments and technology was imported from US. It was
Eastern India's first ISO 9001:2000 hospital. Today, this is a 170-bed unit,
offering cardiology and cardiac surgery, surgical and medical oncology, ophthalmology,
ENT, nephrology, urology, gastroenterology and orthopaedics.
Says Brig (Dr) SB Purkayastha, CEO, Ruby General Hospital, "We have a record
of 100 per cent success rate in more than 400 consecutive heart bypass surgeries
using beating heart. In the present hospital, we will add radiation therapy
with linear accelerator and IGRT. Also on the agenda is adding a 1.5 Telsa MRI.
Among private hospitals in the Eastern region, the highest number of cancer
surgeries is being carried out in Ruby." After starting a nursing school
last year, the hospital has planned to start postgraduate courses (DNB) in a
The management is coming up with 250 more beds in a separate
building in an adjacent land measuring 2.3 acres. The new building would house
super-specialised care in neuro and cancer. "The hospital building will
have seven floors of 140,000 square feet. "The plan for building this Rs-55-crore
project has been submitted to the sanctioning authority. As soon as the plan
is approved, the construction will start. Fund to finance the project is ready,"
says Dr Purkayastha.
Jubilant Kalpataru Hospital is soon going to launch an infertility clinic
and a spine surgery centre
Artistic impression of the upcoming 300-bed Tata Medical Centre in Rajarhat
Fortis is starting tertiary care hospital in EM Bypass
AMRI is starting another hospital in EM Bypass
Columbia Asia offers flat and
uniform pricing, irrespective
of the room
Desun Hospital offers CABG at
an amazingly low price of
The Big Thrust
An array of biggies who entered in 2000 include:
Apollo Gleneagles Hospital: The 425-bed Apollo Gleneagles
Hospitals, a joint venture of Apollo Group of Hospitals, India with Parkway
Health of Singapore, is spread over 8.5 acres campus in EM Bypass. The six-storied
main hospital building, spread over an area of 3 lakh square feet, houses the
inpatient and most diagnostic facilities. Opposite the inpatient building is
the five-storied daycare centre spread over 90,000 square feet, which is meant
for outpatient consultations, daycare services and nursing college.
It's the only JCI-accredited hospital in Eastern India and also the only hospital
in Eastern India to receive NABL certification in six separate categories: clinical
biochemistry, clinical pathology, haematology and immunohaematology, microbiology
and serology, histopathology and cytopathology. Some of the achievements of
the hospital include performing the first (in Eastern India) minimally invasive
hip replacement surgery, the first cadaver transplant and intravenous thrombolysis,
and renal transplant on the youngest recipient (a seven-year-old child).
Says Dr Rupali Basu, CEO, Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals, "We are planning
to go for liver transplant soon. This would be the second hospital in this region
after PG Hospital to conduct liver transplant." The hospital is soon going
to start a dedicated centre for cosmetic surgery and functional neuro-surgery.
The newly-launched five-storied Apollo Gleneagles Cancer
Hospital, spread over an area of 50,000 square feet, is located in the same
campus. The radiation therapy department offers IMRT, 3D-CRT, stereotactic radio-surgery,
stereotactic radiotherapy, 3D-CRT with IGRT, 4D-CRT with IMRT, IGRT, Rapid Arc,
Gating, radical brachytherapy, convention radiotherapy and palliative radiotherapy.
"In radio surgery, we have adopted Novalis Tx which provides a non-invasive
treatment option by offering flexibility in treatment protocols and providing
faster planning, setup and treatment," says Dr Basu.
Fortis Hospitals: Established in 1988, the 67-bed Fortis
Hospital and Kidney Institute (formerly Wockhardt Hospital and Kidney Institute)
at Rash Behari Avenue was the first hospital in Eastern India dedicated to urology
surgery and kidney care. Over the years, it has become the pioneering destination
for patients suffering from all kinds of urology and nephrology disorders from
Eastern/North Eastern India and Bangladesh. It is recognised across India as
a centre of excellence in urology/nephrology.
The hospital has pioneered lithotripsy in Eastern India,
besides performing the maximum number of PCNLs (stones extracted through a small
hole at the back). It performs the maximum number of kidney stone and kidney
surgeries per month with high success rate in Eastern India catering to over
50 million people. It performed the first successful laparoscopic donor nephrectomy
in kidney transplant surgery and introduced penile implant surgery in Eastern
The Kolkata Medical Centre at Sarat Bose Road is a multi
specialty outpatient clinic which has a specialised eye clinic that provides
clinical expertise of international repute, and sophistication of diagnostic
and treatment procedures, serving the needs of patients across a spectrum of
eye disorders, specifically for cataract and anterior eye surgeries. The centre
also provides corporate health checks and a complete dental unit.
AMRI: The group, a JV between Emami and Shrachi and
the Government of West Bengal, started its first hospital in 1996 in Dhakuria
with 160 beds. Today, the Dhakuria unit has expanded to 360 beds and is adding
40 more beds soon. Says DN Agarwal, Executive Director, AMRI, "It is the
first hospital in Eastern India to start IMRT in cancer and also the first multi
specialty hospital in Eastern India to get NABH accreditation."
The hospital, which already has two linear accelerators with IMRT, is going
for IGRT, PET Scan and SPECT CT at a cost of Rs 22 crore. This would be the
first PET Scan in a hospital setup in Eastern India. In 2005, the group acquired
Suraksha Hospital in Salt Lake. This hospital, which started with 160 beds,
now has 180 beds. Another 60 beds are being added in a nearby building. The
total capacity of the hospital will become 240 beds. The new building will house
an ultra-modern gastroenterology and nephrology department.
The group also has a medical centre on Southern Avenue in south Kolkata. This
centre provides diagnostic facilities, comprehensive outpatient treatment, preventive
healthcare checkups, ophthalmology, dentistry and ENT.
RTIICS: Rabindranath Tagore International Institute
of Cardiac Sciences (RTIICS), a unit of Narayana Hrudayalaya, has built a health
city comprising a cardiac centre, a trauma centre, a kidney hospital and an
RTIICS was started in April 2000 as a cardiac hospital at Mukundapur in Jadavpur.
The 120-bed cardiac centre started the first EP study in Eastern India in 2000.
It was the first hospital to have a separate section for paediatric cardiology
and intra vascular ultrasound for angioplasty. Says Dr Ashutosh Raghuvanshi,
Vice Chairman, Narayana Hrudayalaya Group, "We were the first hospital
to provide standardised packages for cardiac surgeries in these parts."
In 2004, the hospital became a multi specialty hospital and today, it has expanded
to a 445-bed unit. Built on approximately four acres of land, the hospital has
state-of-the-art equipment like IVUS (first in Eastern India) to image coronary
The group also runs the Armenian Church Trauma Centre (ACTC) in the same premises.
This wing has a full-fledged trauma centre with some associated specialties
along with a department of laboratory diagnostic services, nuclear medicine
and radio diagnosis, and a blood bank.
The group also runs Manjulaben Mehta Kidney Hospital in the same premises. This
unit with 45 dialysis machines is the largest in Eastern India. "This centre,
started in 2005, has performed more than 350 renal transplant cases so far,"
says Dr Raghuvanshi. The group also built Rotary Narayana Nethralaya Hospital
in Salt Lake. The hospital provides treatment for cataract, glaucoma, occuloplasty,
paediatric ophthalmology and retinal surgeries.
"Over the last 10 years, we have emerged as the largest healthcare provider
in Eastern India and have performed more than 15,000 cardiac surgeries, 50,000
cath lab procedures, 1,20,000 dialysis procedures, 350 renal transplants and
provided subsidised treatment worth Rs 70 crore to poor and needy patients,"
says Dr Raghuvanshi.
The group is in the process of establishing a nursing college and paramedical
training centre at Sonarpur, eight kilometres from the main hospital. The college
will offer BSc and MSc in nursing. The nursing school will have provision for
GNM nursing and the paramedical training centre will have 40 disciplines of
BP Poddar Hospital: This 220-bed multi-specialty hospital,
located at New Alipore, is from the Poddar Group that runs business in healthcare,
entertainment, education, housing and the service sector. Spread over 1,40,000
square feet, the hospital was started in 2005. It offers advanced healthcare
services with emphasis on oncology, traumatology and advanced medical research.
It is the first hospital in India to run its ventilators on Medical Air (FDA
|Infant Mortality Rate: 35 as against
national average of 53.
Maternal Mortality Ratio: 141 (SRS 2004 - 2006) which are lower than
the National average.
Sex Ratio:934 as compared to 933 for India.
Bhagirathi Neotia Woman and Child Care Centre: Bhagirathi
Neotia Woman and Child Care Centre of Ambuja Realty was set up in the year 2002
at an approximate cost of Rs 20 crore. This NABH-accredited hospital, started
with 63 beds, now has 83 beds. Says PL Mehta, CEO, Bhagirathi Neotia Woman and
Child Care Centre, "Over time, we have started our own diagnostic centre,
named Neotia Mediplus, which is offering advanced diagnostic services with full
time experts." It soon started an infertility clinic nicknamed Genomee
in collaboration with an Israeli hospital. "Today, Genomee has turned into
one of the most noted infertility centres in Eastern India. We are able to save
babies even at low birth weight of about 800 grams. In infertility, Genomee
has achieved a success rate of 35 per cent which is substantially higher than
the industry prevalent rate," says he. The group is putting up a chain
of community clinics in the name of Neotia Mediplus.
Columbia Asia: In 2007, a brown-field hospital project
in EM Bypass was acquired by the Malaysia-based Columbia Asia Group to establish
its footprint in the city. The hospital, with 100 beds, was started in June
2008. According to Arindam Banerjee, General Manager, Columbia Asia, Kolkata,
"This hospital is the only private hospital in the Eastern region to have
a Labour Delivery Recovery Suite and offer flat and uniform pricing, irrespective
of the room that the patient chooses. We follow internationally benchmarked
standard protocols for infection control and hygiene, and our OTs conform to
ASHRAE standards. We don't unnecessarily invest in technology; we believe in
ethical practice and don't exert pressure on doctors to earn revenue for us."
In the pipeline are a cardiac cath lab and renal transplantation.
Desun Hospital and Heart Institute: The 303-bed Desun
Hospital and Heart Institute at EM Bypass was started in November 2008. This
super specialty cardiac hospital was founded after Sajal Dutta, one of the founder
promoters of Ruby General Hospital, moved out of the management of Ruby General
Hospital in 2006. Desun's 10-storied hospital, spread over 2,50,000 square feet,
also offers treatment in ENT, gastro, dentistry, cosmetology, critical care,
dermatology, endocrinology, general medicine, general surgery, nephrology and
The USP of the hospital has always been its low-cost model. It offers CABG at
an amazingly low price of Rs 70,000 and is known for catering to lower socioeconomic
strata of the society. Says Sajal Dutta, Chairman & Managing Director, Desun
Hospital, "We are the only hospital in Eastern India to have steel OT and
1:1 ratio for bed to ventilator for each ICU / ITU bed to reduce infection rate."
Now, the hospital is planning the second phase to add 450 more beds in adjacent
land to add more specialties like ortho and neuro. However, the upcoming hospital
would focus on mother and child care, "We will be adding 2,45,000 more
square feet. The cost of the project will be Rs 140 crore." The second
phase is to be started by 2012.
Sankara Nethralaya: The huge rush of patients from
the Eastern region to Chennai's Sankara Nethralaya inspired the management to
plan a hospital in Kolkata. Sankara Nethralaya signed a tri-partite agreement
with Dr Devi Shetty's Asia Heart Foundation (AHF) and Rotary to start the Rotary
Narayan Sankara Nethralaya. Sankara Nethralaya exited the agreement in July
2007 and planned a new hospital at Mukundapur in Jadavpur area. The initial
hospital in Salt Lake was thus renamed as Rotary Narayan Nethralaya.
Sankara Nethralaya made arrangements for a makeshift hospital while the new
hospital was coming up in Mukundapur. It thus started a unit at Raja Subodh
Mallik Square in July 2007. The new hospital, built at a cost of Rs 34 crore,
was commissioned in January 2009. The hospital has six OTs, four of which are
for paying patients and two for indigent patients. The hospital has a tele-ophthalmology
and Mobile Refraction Van that takes quality eye care to the doorsteps of people
living in rural and semi-urban West Bengal. It holds regular eye camps in neighbouring
district to identify patients with complex eye problems.
According to Komal Dashora, Administrator, Sankara Nethralaya, Kolkata, "The
USP of the hospital is that it provides comprehensive eye care under one roof,
with all full-time consultants from Chennai. The hospital caters to complex
ophthalmology problems of the population of the whole of the Eastern region."
With over 500 OPD consultations per day and with a waiting time of one month,
the management is contemplating setting up more OPD clinics in future in Kolkata.
"We have immediate plans of starting a full-fledged corneal transplant
programme and Lasik surgery department. Later, we plan to have ocular oncology
department," Dashora reveals.
Jubilant Kalpataru Hospital: This is a 120-bed super
specialty hospital in Barasat, which comes under the North 24 Parganas district,
but falls under the purview of the Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority.
The hospital started functioning in its current location at Barasat in December
2009. However, a 50-bed hospital under the same name was functioning for the
last two years, about three kilometres away. The hospital is owned by Jubilant
First Trust Healthcare (JFTHT), a subsidiary of Jubilant Organosys. The subsidiary
was created in association with a group of doctors with entrepreneurship experience
in West Bengal. Recently, the hospital conducted the first workshop for total
ceramic-on-ceramic implant for hip in the country led by Padmashree Prof KH
Sancheti. According to Satadal Saha, Director and CEO, JFTHT, "We are soon
going to launch an infertility clinic and a spine surgery centre."
|Primary Health Centres
|Community Health Centres
|(Source: RHS Bulletin, March 2008, M/O
Health & F.W., GOI)
In This Decade
Institute of Neuro Sciences: Situated on AJC Bose
Road, the 150-bed Institute of Neuro Sciences (INS) was commissioned in March
this year, with 50 beds. The not-for-profit hospital, built at a cost of Rs
100 crore, is a PPP between the Kolkata Municipal Corporation, the Government
of West Bengal and Neurosciences Foundation (founded by London-based neuro surgeon
Dr RP Sengupta).
The hospital was planned to cater to a population of 55 crore in the Eastern
and North Eastern part of India as well as the neighbouring countries of Bangladesh,
Bhutan and Nepal. Says Dr RP Sengupta, Chairman of INS and the brain behind
this project, "It will offer facilities of international standard, like
that of Mayo Clinic. It will offer dignified treatment to the poor and would
be a centre of excellence in South East Asia."
The hospital is offering services in neurology, neuro surgery, neuro radiology,
neuro psychiatry and rehabilitation and has a stroke centre, trauma centre,
endovascular centre and diagnostic centre. The hospital also provides specialised
medical care for the following: cure of stroke by thrombolysis, DBS for PD patients,
cure for intractable epilepsy, cure of dependency with brain stimulation, sleep
lab, localisation of tumour with neuro navigation, precision brain surgery guided
by intra-operative MRI and robotic surgery.
Medica Superspecialty Hospital: This 206-bed hospital
(expandable to 500 beds), located at EM Bypass was inaugurated in April this
Says Dr Alexander Kuruvilla, CEO, Medica Superspecialty Hospital, "The
department of neurosurgery is providing stereotactic surgery with the unique
facility of functional neurosurgery (deep brain stimulation and lesion making)-a
first in Eastern India with help from Oxford (UK)." This Rs100-crore project
has installed pneumatic chute system, which is the first in Kolkata. The hospital
has taken multiple initiatives to be a green hospital and has applied for LEED
accreditation, which is also the first in this region.
On the Anvil
Tata Medical Centre, Rajarhat: With 80,000 new cancer
cases detected in West Bengal every year, Tata Medical Centre (TMC) is the most
awaited project in the city. This 300-bed cancer hospital from the house of
Tata is coming up at New Town, Rajarhat. The foundation stone was laid on 21st
February, 2006 by Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya and construction of
the project began on 16th February, 2007. Spread over 13.36 acres, the FSI of
the hospital is 3,26,000 square feet.
Ohio Cardiology Associates (India), Rajarhat: Promoted
by US-based cardiologist Dr Ashish Rakhit, this super specialty cardiology hospital
is coming up in New Town, Rajarhat. Says Rajiv Shil, Manager, Ohio Cardiology
Associates, "The project, spread on a two-acre land, is built at a cost
of Rs 200 crore. The project is expected to be commissioned by December, this
Global, Rajarhat: Coming up on three acres in Rajarhat,
Global Hospital Kolkata, a joint venture of Hyderabad's Global Hospital with
Sureka group, will be a 450-bed facility. This Rs150-crore project will be a
tertiary care and multi-organ transplantation facility. The hospital will be
commissioned by the end of 2011 with 300 beds. Says Dr K Ravindranath, Chairman,
Global Hospitals, "This will later be scaled up to 450 beds."
Belle Vue, Rajarhat: It has planned a 500-bed tertiary
care hospital in Rajarhat. "The cost of the project would be Rs 150 crore
with Rs 40 lakh per square foot," informs Tandon.
Fortis Hospital, EM Bypass: Spread over 1.5 acres,
with total area of over three lakh square feet, this 400-bed specialty hospital
is coming up at Anandapur, near the EM Bypass. Construction for this Rs 175-crore
project, stalled for 14 months, resumed in January. And now, the hospital is
scheduled for commissioning by July this year. This is a super specialty hospital
with core focus on cardiology/cardiac surgery, urology/nephrology, neurosciences,
orthopaedics, minimal access surgery and critical care. Says Vishal Bali, CEO,
Fortis Hospitals Limited, "The group has developed clinical leadership
in providing patient care in these specialties for over a decade and half across
India. The demand by patients in Eastern India for high quality super specialty
care is growing rapidly and this hospital aims to fulfil this need through a
combination of modern infrastructure, outstanding clinical expertise and professional
management practices. This facility will be amongst the most advanced hospitals
AMRI, EM Bypass: It is starting a 275-bed hospital
at Mukundapur in EM Bypass. The first phase of this Rs 100-crore project with
175 beds is coming up by September 2010. The hospital is dedicated to women
Narayana Hrudayalaya Dental Clinic: Narayana Hrudayalaya
Hospitals has started a wholly-owned subsidiary unit, Narayana Hrudayalaya Dental
Clinic (NHDC) to foray into dental clinics. NHDC, which already has one clinic
at Hiland Park, is now in the process of opening a chain of 50 clinics throughout
the city. These dental clinics provide diagnostic, preventive, restorative,
oral surgical, orthodontic, rehabilitative, and cosmetic dental care under one
Says Dr Nitish Shetty, Managing Director, NHDC, "This year, we would start
30 clinics in Kolkata and by next year, we will scale it up to 50 clinics. All
of these clinics will be standalone, apart from a few which are located in our
own hospitals. The average cost of starting each clinic ranges from Rs 20 to
Rs 30 lakh."
GP-CK Birla Group: The group has planned a slew of
25 diagnostic clinics in Eastern India, out of which six are coming up in Kolkata.
"These clinics will be a mix of owned and franchisees. The cost of setting
up a centre without CT and MR would be around Rs 2 crore and would be more than
Rs 4 crore with CT and MR," says Borar. The group is also exploring the
opportunity of setting up another cardiac hospital in the city. The project
is proposed to come up in Rajarhat at an estimated cost of Rs 100 crore. "Talks
are on with the Government to identify the land for the project," says
On the Prowl
Elbit: Elbit India Healthcare (EIH), a subsidiary
of the Elbit Imaging of Israel, is planning to establish a multi-specialty tertiary
care hospital in Kolkata. Elbit India Healthcare had initially tied up with
the Neotia group to form Neotia Elbit Hospitals Venture. The JV started a diabetes
specialty centre on Rashbehari Avenue, near Gariahat. However, the JV was called
off and Elbit sold the diabetes clinic to BM Birla. Now, Elbit is focusing only
on the tertiary care hospital. Dr Suresh avers, "Since we are deliberating
on several options in Kolkata, we wouldn't be able to release any other information."
Apollo: It is looking for land in both north and south
Kolkata for future hospital projects.
Hinduja Healthcare: Hinduja Healthcare, which runs
the trust hospital PD Hinduja Hospital in Mumbai, is interested in setting up
a corporate hospital in Kolkata.
Scope for Improvement
India being a price sensitive market, hospitals need to work on right price
- Sajal Dutta
Chairman & Managing Director
only in the 90s the thinking that hospitals should be managed by professional
managers and not doctors gained ground"
- Dr Rupali Basu,
Apollo Gleneagles Hospital
Development of Specialty: There is a need for further
development of specialties, specially neuro, trauma and burns. "People
are still going down south for neuro surgeries like skull-base brain tumour
and complex joint replacements," says Brig Purkayastha. Some experts point
out the need for a standalone diabetes institute.
Trained Manpower: For a city bursting with new healthcare
projects, dearth of specialists, trained nurses, paramedics and technicians
poses hurdle. According to Dr Basu, the city needs more paramedical courses
and medical colleges. "The eight medical colleges of the Government and
the upcoming KPC Medical College are not sufficient to churn out enough doctors,"
Government Support: Burdened with augmenting the infirm
public healthcare infrastructure, the state Government has not been proactive
in promoting investments in healthcare. But to meet the burgeoning demand for
cutting edge technology, the Government needs to encourage private investments
and must provide better infrastructure to aid that.
Tackling Union and Mob Violence: Union problems have
always besieged hospitals. Mob violence against doctors and nursing homes/hospitals
has often hampered the functioning of hospitals. Continuous 'bandhs' and political
disturbances in the city also deter investors.
More Insurance Coverage: With only 2.8 per cent coverage
of health insurance in Eastern India, there is definitely a need for more coverage
to make healthcare more affordable to all.
Improve on Soft Skill: A lot is desired in soft skills
of medical and non-medical staff. Insensitivity and rudeness of staff and their
lack of commitment to patients have often created unpleasant situations.
Image Overhaul: From doctors to hospitals, everyone
needs to work on improving their image vis-a-vis patients. "We need to
make an attempt to gain the confidence of patients, many of whom still prefer
going down South for treatment of complicated ailments," says Borar.
Here are some trends that would define the city's healthcare landscape:
More Healthcare Units: The future will witness more
corporate setting up their units in Kolkata. According to Dubey, for any city
to have potential for development there are three key factors - manpower, infrastructure
and financial index (for cost of living and real estate prices etc.). Secondary
factors include aspects like Government support, stable Government and commercial
development. "Kolkata has been scoring on all the above key factors recently
and so has seen the recent growth of IT and healthcare sector. This will continue
in the coming years, making Kolkata a key healthcare destination of Eastern
India," he avers.
Price Performance Equilibrium: Hospitals in the city
are getting quality conscious, but quality comes at a price and people in the
Eastern part are often not ready to pay for quality. "As quality consciousness
rises, it would be a war of quality and not only price. People want value for
money," says Banerjee. According to Dutta, Eastern India being a price
sensitive market, hospitals need to work on right price performance equilibrium.
PPP: Experts predict more public private partnership
ventures in the coming years. After all, there is a need for tertiary care treatment
to be more accessible and affordable to the masses. In the past, the Government's
effort to outsource some services of public healthcare to private groups did
not take materialise. It's time to devise a PPP model that will be viable for
the private players.
Consolidation: Whenever some behemoth enters an untapped
market, the smaller ones are gobbled up. Consolidation after all brings in economies
of scale. "Rather than surviving on one leg, the smaller setups need to
bring in the necessary investment to properly serve their client base,"
However, from an era of having monopoly in the Eastern region, soon hospitals
in upcoming healthcare hubs of Bhubaneswar and Siliguri (both with air connectivity)
would give Kolkata tough competition. It would be interesting to watch the cascading
effects of this competition!