Saturday, June 20, 2015

Gujarat govt's new super-specialty hospital would be "unapproachable" for the poor

Replica of new Ahmedabad hospital
By Our Representative
Four independent members of the board of management, Chinai Maternity and VS General Hospitals, Ahmedabad, have strongly protested against the Gujarat government’s move to convert the hospital into a super-specialty unit. In a statement to the media, they have said, for two long years their plea not to convert it into super-specialty hospital is pending before the charity commissioner court, but without “any progress.”
In a statement, signed by Brijesh Chinai, Rupa Chinai, Virendra Shah and Jay Sheth, they have said, they have not been able to get concrete reply from the state authorities, including the BJP-ruled Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, on whether the purpose for which the land was donated for the hospital, to serve the poor, is not being set aside by converting it into a super-specialty hospital.
All four represent on the board of management in the capacity being members of the family of the original donors – Chinai Sheth and Vadilal Sarabhai.
Made ahead of the final hearing, scheduled for July 22, 2015, the statement says, AMC has created the Medical Education Trust (MET), which is currently constructing a new multi-storey super-specialty hospital on the campus, on a land behind the two existing hospitals.
“If in its wisdom, the AMC and the Gujarat Government feel that the city of Ahmedabad requires yet another such hospital built with public money in a city already over-crowded with that created by the private sector, we have nothing to say”, the statement says.
“What is not understood is why the AMC-MET is bent upon making defunct the two currently running public charitable trust owned hospitals, which represent a unique collaboration between Ahmedabad's philanthropic families and the AMC. For over 85 years the Sarabhai and Chinai Hospitals have a glorious record of providing quality and affordable health care to the poorest citizens and must be allowed to continue”, the statement says.
Reminding that the AMC commissioner had in a letter dated March 22, 2013 to the VS Board of Management to have a new 'super specialty hospital with 1600 beds, the statement says, “The commissioner's letter further reveals that the VS and Chinai Hospitals, which originally started with 120 beds, will be reduced to a ward in the new hospital with that many beds.”
“The balance of its 1,055 beds will be amalgamated in the 1,600 new beds in the super-specialty hospital under MET control, which would probably be unapproachable by the poor. This means that for an increase of a mere 400 new beds, the AMC has plans to destroy the functioning of the VSG and Chinai Hospitals which have a strong pro-poor character”, the statement underlines.
The statement further says, “The commissioner's letter clearly indicates that the super-specialty hospital is intended for paying patients of an entirely different class, when he refers to medical tourism, helipad services, air-conditioned Singapore style glass structure, car parks and high technology services.”
The four independent trustees want the AMC and the Gujarat government to clarify:
* For whom is the new super-speciality hospital being built? Will all its 1,600 beds provide free or highly subsidised services to BPL card holders?
* Why, despite filing applications under the Right To Information Act, has the AMC not made public the building plans of the new super speciality hospital? Why has it not responded to questions regarding FSI clearance for this new hospital? What implications will that have on the existing VSG and Chinai Hospital buildings?
Not objecting to a super-specialty hospital, the four members say, “The AMC can also construct a separate super specialty hospital under the control of MET with new staff. This will not only help bring more beds for patients in Ahmedabad city, but the poor will be free to visit the two existing hospitals. The AMC meanwhile, can have its own paying patients of an entirely different class in the new hospital and achieve its aim of medical tourism.”

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