The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Private push for five modern dialysis units

To cope with the increasing number of patients requiring dialysis, the government has decided to join hands with five private parties to instal modern dialysis units in five medical colleges.

According to health department officials, the modern units will come up at Calcutta Medical College, National Medical College and RG Kar Medical College in the city, besides the Bankura and Burdwan Medical Colleges.

“At present, we have only three dialysis units in the city at the state-run SSKM Hospital, NRS Medical College and Sambhunath Pandit Hospital and one at North Bengal Medical College. This infrastructure is grossly inadequate to handle the demand. So, we have joined hands with private parties to set up new facilities and share the financial burden,’’ said Shyamal Basu, special secretary in the health department.

Some private firms have shown interest in joint ventures and the government has shortlisted four partners till now.

According to the draft agreement, the medical colleges will provide the space for running the dialysis units, while the private parties will invest in technology and allied infrastructure, including technicians and para-medical staff.

The estimated expenditure to set up one dialysis unit is between Rs 15 and 20 lakh. The government will take 25 per cent of the earnings and the rest goes to the private partners.

The cost of treatment will be much lower compared to private nursing homes. “Indigent patients will get discounts or will be treated free and the health department will have sole discretion on this count,’’ officials maintained.

Detailed project proposals, along with the draft agreement, have been sent to chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee for formal approval.

“Dialysis is used to treat patients suffering from kidney disorders, snake-bite victims, those with renal failure and persons consuming poison. But since we have only three units in the city, it is impossible to treat over 200 patients daily. It is unfortunate that many patients either die for want of dialysis or are compelled to go to private nursing homes. The five new units should be able to address the problem better,’’ Basu said.

The private companies won’t be allowed to provide the facilities to any outsider. Director of medical education C.R. Maity admitted that though healthcare facilities have been upgraded at medical colleges, a lot still remains to be done.

“If reputed private companies come forward for joint ventures with the government to improve healthcare facilities, we shall always welcome them. If they are ready to invest and abide by government policies and guidelines, we have no objection to such partnerships,’’ Maity said.

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