Even as the government of Goa is poised to expand its medical infrastructure in a big way over the next few years, increasing the number of beds in state-run hospitals manyfold, the question arises as to whether the state would manage to find the manpower to staff these proposed facilities. Health minister Vishwajit Rane seems to believe the answer lies in private-public partnerships.
The 500-bed superspeciality block at Goa Medical College hospital (GMC) will be ready for commission at the end of this year. There are five other big projects across the state, including the south Goa district hospital in the final stages of readiness.
These hospitals and tertiary care centres would require the services of doctors, consultants, superspecialists and paramedical staff in large numbers—and one wonders how the state would make these new hospitals functional, when it has struggled to fill the vacancies of doctors in various government hospitals in the past.
Keen on changing the face of Goa’s healthcare system, the health minister is considering his options, and leaning towards a private-public partnership model to run the new hospitals.
“Nothing has been finalised yet. A consultant will be appointed to choose the best model for operating each new hospital facility. All decisions will be taken with approval of the chief minister,”Rane said, well- aware of the fact that any involvement by private players in state-run healthcare is frowned upon by the public.
“Even if private parties are brought on board to run these hospitals in collaboration, full control will lie with the government. A committee of government doctors will be formed to take important decisions,” Rane added.
Listing out the major hospital upgrades in the pipeline, Rane said that the bed capacity of the south Goa district hospital will be increased from 500 to around 750 and the facility would include superspecialists and be run on a unique model.
GMC’s superspeciality block will have a gastroenterology department set up by noted gastroenterologist Dr Harish Peshwe. Rane said he has cleared the file for his appointment.
He added that all hospital equipment will be procured through ‘Hospital Services Consultancy Services (HSCC), which has also built the superspecialty block.
The upgraded 120-bed Cottage hospital at Chicalim will likely be operated in collaboration with private doctors. ” I have had several rounds of meetings with doctors in Salcete. The hospital will cater to the needs of the entire taluka of Salcete,” said Rane. “Even if government hospital management is outsourced to private players, people should not worry about hospital bills as the DDSSY scheme is in place,” he said.
In Pernem, the 100-bed hospital has been upgraded to attract medical tourists, Rane said.
During the tourist season, the coastal villages of Arambol, Morjim, Mardrem and Ashvem see large numbers of Russian tourists. With extensive upgradation of medical infrastructure, he said promoting medical tourism was high on his priority list, and would be a good source of revenue for the hospitals.
The under-construction regional cancer centre in the GMC premises is expected to be ready in 2020. – TOI