Promises of big investments in healthcare in the state, totalling more than Rs 2,000 crore, came on the concluding day of the Bengal Global Business Summit on Thursday.
Surgeon Devi Shetty led the pack with the announcement that a 1,000-bed hospital, which an official in the company helmed by him said would offer quaternary care, would come up in Kolkata.
Other groups including Apollo, Medica and Fortis also promised expansion and setting up of new hospitals in the city and elsewhere in Bengal.
Shetty’s Narayana Health group, which has nearly 1,500 beds in several hospitals across the city, will set up a 1,000-bed hospital in two phases, he said at the valedictory session of the sixth edition of the business summit.
“We will start a 1,000-bed hospital. We are looking for 7 acres of land in Kolkata. It has to be in Kolkata because the city requires a huge hospital dealing with super-specialities like heart, cancer, trauma care, orthopaedics, robotic surgeries and organ transplants under one roof,” Shetty, chairman of Narayana Health, later told The Telegraph.
“Kolkata is one place where I have absolutely no hesitation in investing big money.”
The RN Tagore International Institute of Cardiac Sciences, the group’s flagship unit in Kolkata, is built on two acres and there is no scope for expansion, he said.
An official of the group said the new facility would provide quaternary care. Quaternary care is an extension of tertiary care with more specialised treatment, including experimental drugs and procedures.
“In the health city in Bangalore, there are four hospitals on 30 acres and the experience is totally different. We are the first private hospital to produce Car T cells for cancer therapy,” said Shetty.
Car T cell therapy, which will be offered by the new hospital to be set up by Shetty’s group, is an advanced immunotherapy for cancer.
“When one has a large number of beds, one can afford new technology and research institutes. In Kolkata, we are planning a postgraduate institution where research will take place. We believe that when this kind of centre is developed, it will attract doctors from all over India,” Shetty said.
He said he had requested chief minister Mamata Banerjee to set up 1,000 nursing colleges in Bengal. "Every hospital with at least 100 beds should have a nursing college. If one woman from each poor family in Bengal becomes a nurse, that will help the family become more affluent,” he said.
Among other groups, Apollo announced that it would invest Rs 1,000 crore.
“We will invest Rs 1,000 crore for 1,000 beds and create 5,000 jobs,” said Rana Dasgupta, CEO, eastern region, Apollo Hospitals group. He made the announcement at a panel discussion at the summit.
“We are looking for land in south Kolkata for a big hospital,” Dasgupta said.
The group will also set up a 300-bed hospital in two phases at Batanagar.
The Medica Hospitals group will spend Rs 400 crore on expansion, said Komal Dashora, president, and Ayanabh Debgupta, joint managing director, Medica Group of Hospitals.
“We are spending Rs 200 crore on a cancer hospital adjacent to our existing hospital. The first phase (of the cancer hospital) will start before the Puja,” said Dashora.
“We also have plans to set up greenfield hospitals in north Bengal, where we have land, and other parts of Bengal.”
The Fortis group is planning to invest Rs 125 crore to increase the number of beds at its hospitals in Anandapur in east Kolkata and on Rashbehari Avenue in teh south.
“We will add 120 beds. We are also looking at other opportunities to invest,” said Richa Debgupta, chief of strategy and operations, Fortis.
Peerless Hospital is investing Rs 300 crore in a comprehensive cancer wing, said Sujit Kar Purkayastha, managing director of the hospital. “Initially, it will be a 150-bed facility. We will expand it later,” he said.