Global healthcare equipment maker GE Healthcare, an arm of General Electric Company (GE), and the Gujarat government have tied up in a first-of-its-kind public-private partnership (PPP) to upgrade medical technology in the state.
Announcing this, Gujarat Health Minister Jaynarayan Vyas said the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) the GE Healthcare and the department of health and family welfare signed is for upgrading medical technology and for setting up diagnostic imaging centres in five medical colleges and hospitals in the state under the PPP model.
Listing various advantages accruing from this tie-up, Vyas said the partnership is in tune with the government’s vision of providing better, affordable healthcare to all through increased accessibility of superior technology at affordable cost.
The medical colleges of Ahmedabad, Baroda, Rajkot, Bhavnagar and Jamangar will be provided with advanced CT and MRI facilities in the next five to seven months.
A specialized, centralized tele-radiology centre will also be set up in Ahmedabad. The centre will be the first of its kind with regard to modernizing government healthcare institutions in the country, he said.
In the field of public health, Gujarat is a frontrunner. It introduced the first comprehensive School Health Programme in the country providing free check-up and treatment right up to super-specialty care to nearly 13 million children, Vyas said.
In emergency care, the state has enacted Emergency Medical Services Act last year to standardize emergency medical services, he said.
The state has also set up a state level Emergency medical Service Authority; a network of trauma centres and supporting health facilities; and emergency medical transport service in the form of 108 services, he said.
He added that Gujarat was the first state to push its public sector hospitals and laboratories to obtain formal quality accreditation from the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and the National Accreditation Board for Laboratories. The technology package in this PPP model is such that the students will be able to learn how to use the latest instruments.
The charges for CT and MRI scans are 40 to 50 per cent lower than the market rate and even the poor is benefited as out of the 60 MRI scans to be conducted daily at the centres, 10 MRIs will be totally free to BPL patients. “If the hospital superintendent feels the patient is poor, he is empowered to recommend free diagnosis,” Vyas said.
“GE Healthcare will invest INR 350 million and our aim is to transform the Indian healthcare industry,” said president & CEO of GE Healthcare V. Raja.
As a complete service solutions provider, the tele-radiology centre in Ahmedabad would link the rest of the hospitals that will help provide professional image interpretation services and second opinion to hospitals and patients, Raja said. “The PPP initiative has started a new era in healthcare and it is a natural way of developing healthcare capabilities in the region,” said state health commissioner Amarjit Singh.