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Manipal to spend Rs 250 crore to upgrade facilities at AMRI Hospitals

Manipal Hospitals, which announced the acquisition of an 87 per cent stake in Medica Synergie on Monday, wants to stem the flow of patients from Bengal to other states for treatment, the group’s MD and CEO said on Tuesday.

After the acquisition of Medica, the Bengaluru-based hospital chain now owns five hospitals in Kolkata, including three of AMRI, formerly owned by the Emami Group.

“We hope since Manipal has come to Kolkata, people from here need not travel outside Bengal for treatment anymore. We will offer the same faith and experience that we provide in our Bengaluru hospitals,” Dilip Jose, MD and CEO of Manipal, told The Telegraph from Bengaluru.

“Since they will save on travel, that will bring down the cost of treatment,” said Jose.

Stemming the flock of patients going outside Bengal for treatment, particularly to south India, has been one of the biggest challenges faced by the private hospitals in Kolkata.

An official of Manipal said the healthcare chain’s flagship hospital on Old Airport Road in Bengaluru has around 300 patients from Bengal every day.

At Narayana Health City, Bengaluru, owned by Devi Shetty’s Narayana Health group, around 500 Bengal patients are at the OPD every day, said an official.

Apollo Hospitals, Green Road, Chennai, also has a footfall of about 500 patients from Bengal in its OPD daily, said an official of that hospital.

“We are upgrading the infrastructure and equipment at AMRI hospitals. However, at Medica Superspecialty Hospital in Kolkata, there is no need for such an upgrade as the hospital is well equipped,” said Jose.

He said the group planned to spend Rs 250 crore in two years to upgrade the facilities at AMRI hospitals in Dhakuria, Salt Lake and Mukundapur.

Manipal has spent around Rs 60 crore in the past few months since the takeover of AMRI in September 2023. The hospitals are being refurbished now. All four hospitals will be rebranded as Manipal in a couple of months.

However, Jose said they were not planning to bring doctors from its Bengaluru facilities. “I think our hospitals in Kolkata have good and competent doctors,” he said.

Manipal had over 9,500 beds across India before the Medica acquisition. It will now have over 10,500.

Speaking about operating five hospitals in Kolkata, Jose said all the units will function as standalone facilities.

Although Medica Superspcialty Hospital and AMRI Mukundapur, are very close to each other, Jose said there were no plans for amalgamation in near future.

“We have our hospitals in Bengaluru, close to each other, although not as close as Medica and AMRI Mukundapur, but they run as separate units,” he said. “Although there are common treatment facilities at both the hospitals (Medicaand AMRI Mukundapur), there is no plan to integrate the two,” said Jose.

The CEO said though there would be an administrative amalgamation of all five hospitals and others in the region, doctors would continue to function like earlier. “Clinically, doctors would manage their own affairs,” said Jose.

“We will sit with doctors and employees and discuss the amalgamation issues. We’ll not do anything that can cause harm to the patient flow,” he said.

“People, doctors and employees, will be our focus for integration,” said Jose. Telegraph India

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