| D.K. Saraf at the bedside of a patient at Anandalok Hospital, in Salt Lake. Picture by Amit Datta
Bypass surgery for only Rs 45,000'
If everything works out according to plan, Calcutta will soon have a state-of-the-art hospital, exclusively for bypass surgeries, courtesy Anandalok Hospital, that is keen on adding another link to its existing chain of hospitals in Calcutta and elsewhere in the districts.
Calcutta accounts for over 550 bypass surgeries a month in prominent city hospitals at Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 2 lakh each. The new Anandalok hospital will be a boon to those who cannot afford the expensive surgery, state health department officers believe.
Talks have reached the final stage between the government and the Anandalok authorities about the new project, said D.K. Saraf, secretary of the hospital. He had earlier appealed to the government to hand over to him the Salt Lake police hospital, defunct for a long time.
A few days ago, Saraf met former chief minister Jyoti Basu to discuss the new project. Basu, it is learnt, has promised Saraf that he will take up the matter with chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and hand over either the police hospital or a plot to him for the purpose as soon as possible.
“They have been offering low-cost quality healthcare for quite some time. The government has always encouraged such healthcare groups to come forward and invest,” said Prabhakar Chatterjee, director of health services.
Anandalok hospital offers low-cost treatment facilities at its four existing hospitals in the city. It has recently completed building three state-of-the-art hospitals in Purulia, Jamshedpur and Raniganj, at an estimated cost of Rs 30 crore. The Raniganj hospital started functioning from January 31. The other two will open by 2003-end.
Apart from heart diseases, resident doctors and consultants will treat patients at the new string of hospitals for a wide variety of diseases, including problems of the prostrate gland and eyes, tuberculosis and malaria, besides offering various types of surgery.
“The Tatas helped us immensely on the Jamshedpur project. They donated three bighas. There have been donations from other multinationals. We received a Rs 5-crore loan from a nationalised bank,” Saraf added.
He is now busy giving concrete shape to the new Calcutta hospital. “We already offer bypass surgery in our chain of four hospitals in the city. But, with the sharp increase in heart diseases and bypass surgeries, we thought there is a lot we can do by providing this costly surgery to the poor at an affordable rate,” said Saraf. The new hospital would have come up a long time ago, but a section of the ruling Left Front government used its influence to hand over the land to another private healthcare group from the south. “I was terribly disappointed, but I am hopeful of embarking on the new project soon,” Saraf added.