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Will the 48.25 Crore Mapusa Hospital remain idle?

The High  Court deadline has asked the Goa government to start functioning of the Mapusa Hospital by 31st March, 2011. As the deadlines comes near, GoaChronicle.com exposes how a Rs 48.25 crore project has been lying idle and money-meter continues tick even today…

In an order that was passed in response to a Public Interest Litigation filed by one Prakash Sardessai complaining that the healthcare system in the State was in bad shape. The Division Bench comprising of Justices S B Deshmukh and F M Reis told the Government that the Mapusa Hospital should be operational by 31st March 2011 and should be equipped with Intensive Care Unit and Trauma Unit.
The construction of the state-of-the-art new Government District Hospital at Mapusa was undertaken at a cost of Rs 48.25 crores and was completed on 30th November, 2008 and was handed over to the Health Department on 27th May, 2009. And till today the hospital has been lying unutilized and the reason as expressed by the ministers in the current government and Opposition Party members alike has been the nefarious scheme of the Minister for Health Vishwajit Rane to operate the hospital in Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model even though all documents such as RFP (Request for Proposals) and RFQ (Request for Quotation) indicated it to be a model of privatization rather the PPP.
Post the uproar in the recent Winter Assembly session, the Health Minister withdrew the previous RFQ documents from the health department website and has recently announced in a Press Conference that these documents will be made available shortly after overlooking the health department activities on the Mapusa Hospital.
But what is important to note is that the in the RFQ document which was scrapped and on which the government received only one bid; the details mentioned were for a 290 bed hospital as against a 190 bed as previously planned. More shocking details were that RFQ invited expression of interest for services already existing in the Mapusa Hospital and not super-specialty as declared by the Health Minister.

Here are some of the points mentioned in the RFQ;

Technical  Capacity:  For  demonstrating  technical  capacity  and  experience  (the  “Technical Capacity”),  the  Applicant  should  have  experience,  either  of  its  own  or  through  a  long-term management  contract  of  not  less  than  ten  (10)  years,  in  managing  at  least  one  (1)  multi- specialty hospital meeting the following requirements:  It should be equipped  to  provide  the  following  services: Medicine,  Surgery,  Obstetrics and  Gynecology,  Pediatrics,  Orthopedics,  Ophthalmology,  Ear  Nose  and  Throat, supported with X-Ray, Imaging and Pathology facilities.

Financial Capacity:  For demonstrating financial capacity and experience (the “Financial Capacity”). In  case  the  Applicant  is  a  Company  under  the  Companies  Act,  1956,  the  Applicant should  have an average Net Worth   of INR 15 crore (Indian Rupees Fifteen crore only) for the last three financial years preceding the Application Due Date. (i.e., for financial years 2009-10, 2008-09 and 2007-08). In case the Applicant is a Trust  or Society, the Applicant must have an average Corpus under  management  of  at  least  INR  100  crore  (Indian  Rupees  Hundred  crore only)  for the  last  three  financial  years  preceding  the  Application  Due  Date.  (i.e., for financial years 2009-10, 2008-09 and 2007-08).
While the Health Minister did resign from the post of Chairman of the PPP Monitoring Committee, he continues to be determined to walk the PPP model talk. “We will ensure that this is a good venture between the private player and the government. The idea is not to privatize the hospital but to follow the integration model and ensure that patients get best treatment in Goa. The staff of the Mapusa hospital will be absorbed in the new hospital and the integrated hospital will continue to provide subsidized treatment for the poor and common man,” the health minister said.

Sources in the healthcare business indicate that Vishwajit Rane is in talks with certain prominent healthcare service providers and whether on paper or not, there is a strong indication that the Health Minister is keen to give the hospital to be run by the Fortis Group of Hospital; a mention on this was made even in the Winter assembly by Congress cabinet MLA Dayanand Narvekar.

Currently the expenses incurred by the Goa government for the yet not operational Mapusa Hospital is as follows;

  1. So far the government has spent over Rs 1.17 crores on security expenses which totals Rs 6.68 lakhs, housekeeping and cleaning Rs 68.20 lacs, electricity bills Rs 42.22 lacs and water 0.45 lacs.
  2. The cost of hospital machinery lying unutilised – CT Scan Rs 2.40 crores (which was received in the hospital on 5th January 2009. Ultra Sonography costing Rs 18 lacs (which was received on 17th February, 2009). Computers costing Rs 24.92 lacs (which were received on 30th June, 2009). C-Arm costing Rs 16.50 lakhs (which was received on 19th January, 2009). The CR-System costing Rs 31 lakhs (which was received on 19th January 2009) and Mortuary Cabinet costingRs 41.85 lakhs (which was received on January 5, 2008).
  3. Additional doctors and staff were already recruited for the non-functional hospital for the last two years – doctors 34 posts, nurses 74 posts, patient attendants – 40 posts and other staff 52 posts.

“The Mapusa district hospital was started by Mr Manohar Parrikar. I as a health minister later carried forward vigorously all the works related to the hospital and today even after completion, the hospital is not functioning and the government is spending crores only on maintaining it. There is costly machinery fitted there whose warranty is ending, crores of money spent on this machinery will be going down the drain,” expressed Aldona MLA Dayanand Narvekar. He further added that the government has a hidden agenda and was trying to sell the hospital to a private party for 21 years

The Mapusa District Hospital has sophisticated ultrasound systems with colour dopplers. It has state-of-the-art operation theatres, a central sterile supply department and is fully air-conditioned. The hospital is also fully computerized and has mobile X-ray systems. It is not vulnerable to power fluctuations, unlike the GMC, because an underground cable has been laid from the substation to the Mapusa District Hospital.
Mapusa District Hospital has a sewage treatment plant with an elevated tank platform. It also has a morgue. All the beds are in place. It has geysers and water purifiers, which are in short supply even at the Goa Medical College Hospital. All the equipment in the hospital, including the software and the hardware, have been tested and commissioned. The Hospital built at a cost of 48.25 crores more than two years ago has the entire infrastructure that is needed for it to start admitting patients immediately. In fact it was ready to start functioning two years ago.

Recently the Goa government ensured that all Goans visiting the new North Goa District Hospital for treatment at Mapusa would be treated free of cost. Also that majority of the hospital staff would be of the Goa government and that the private partner would bring in specialists to run the super-specialty departments, like the cardiac care, cath lab, etc to be started when the hospital was operational.

The question however is if the Goa government has already built a sophisticated hospital is the hidden privatization agenda in the guise of PPP model really what is required and will the Chief Minister turn a blind eye to the money making plans of the Health Minister, whose previous hospital project the Rs 140 crore with the Israeli company Elbit India Hospital Limited ran through troubled waters. Here is what the opposition had alleged: Elbit Imaging consented to start the Indian subsidiary before the contract was awarded to them. And what is shocking is that the name of the Indian subsidiary mentioned in the MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) with the state government exactly matches the one approved at the BoD (Board of Directors) meeting a month ago.

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