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regular-article-logo Monday, 27 May 2024

Brand AMRI exits, ‘Manipal’ shines on facades: Bangalore-headquartered hospital chain promises tech upgrade at 3 city facilities

The Manipal Hospitals chain had in September 2023 acquired an 84 per cent stake in AMRI, then owned by the Emami group

Sanjay Mandal Calcutta Published 15.05.24, 05:30 AM
The facade of AMRI Dhakuria now bears the name 'Manipal Hospitals'.

The facade of AMRI Dhakuria now bears the name 'Manipal Hospitals'. Bishwarup Dutta

AMRI is no more.

The healthcare brand, born out of a small clinic in south Calcutta beside the Dhakuria bridge in 1996, was formally replaced by the Bengaluru-headquartered Manipal on Tuesday.

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The Manipal Hospitals chain had in September 2023 acquired an 84 per cent stake in AMRI, then owned by the Emami group.

The facades of the three former AMRI hospitals in the city — in Dhakuria, Mukundapur and Salt Lake — now bear the name “Manipal”. The interiors of the three hospitals are also being changed in tune with Manipal’s designs.

AMRI Mukundapur, now Manipal Mukundapur.

AMRI Mukundapur, now Manipal Mukundapur. Bishwarup Dutta

“The change of name from AMRI to Manipal has started taking place,” said Dilip Jose, MD and CEO, Manipal Hospitals, who was in Calcutta for the formal launch of the brand.

According to old employees of AMRI, the name was initially Advanced Medical Research Institute.

“In August 1996, an OPD in the name of Advanced Medical Research Institute was inaugurated at the Dhakuria facility,” said a senior official.

In 1999, the name Apollo was attached to AMRI and later it was just AMRI. “The AMRI brand was formally launched in 2005, when the Annexe I building in Dhakuria was opened,” he said.

The Salt Lake hospital, now Manipal Broadway, was acquired by the AMRI Hospitals chain from Suraksha in 2006, said sources. The Mukundapur facility — AMRI Mukundapur — was a greenfield hospital that came up in 2011.

The Dhakuria facility was struck by a tragedy in 2011, when a fire in the Annexe I building killed 92 people. Several of the promoters of the hospital were arrested.

An OPD chamber at Manipal Dhakuria, where the colours and designs have been changed.

An OPD chamber at Manipal Dhakuria, where the colours and designs have been changed. The Telegraph

Apart from the three hospitals, AMRI ran a clinic on Southern Avenue. It was not part of the Manipal acquisition. The name of the clinic was changed to AM in September, said an official of the clinic.

Manipal officials said the change would not be confined to the looks.

“We have begun the process of upgrading the AMRI hospitals. The upgrade will be in three segments,” said Jose. Out of a planned Rs 2,300-crore budget for the upgrade, Rs 100 crore has been spent, he said.

The upgrade of medical technologies is on, said Jose. “We are enhancing cancer treatment and organ transplant programme. We are also planning to start a liver transplant facility,” he said.

Officials said a robot for orthopaedic surgeries has been installed at Manipal Dhakuria.

The upgrade of infrastructure will be completed in two months, Jose said.

The colours of the walls of the OPD chambers and lobbies, and the lights at Manipal Dhakuria have been changed. All the floors of the hospitals have Manipal pharmacies.

“The three hospitals — in Dhakuria, Mukundapur and Salt Lake — are now integrated and part of our 33-hospital network. They can collaborate with all the other hospitals in the network,” said Jose.

There is a centralised database for patients. “So, a patient, if shifted form any of the three hospitals to another one in the Manipal network, we will have the database ready. This will help in correct and improved treatment,” said an official.

Jose said that apart from the upgrade of the three former AMRI hospitals, the group is also looking at building a 350-bed hospital in New Town.

“It will be a Rs 500-crore project. However, it will take two to three years for work to start,” said Jose.

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