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Affordable Healthcare for All

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Dr Purshottam Lal
Besides Padmashree, Padma Bhushan, Padma Vibhushan and Dr B C Roy Award, Dr Purshottam Lal, Chairman, Metro Group of Hospitals, has been honoured with several other distinguished awards. He is a man with a mission of redefining the healthcare in the country. He shares his views and vision with Shahid Akhter, ENN

Please tell us about the inspiration behind Metro Group of Hospitals?

Having spent more than 17 years in the US, Germany and UK, I embarked on the vision of serving my own country. I had come to India to share my experiences and train some doctors in India and precisely at this point I was moved at the plight of deplorable healthcare in the rural India. Moreover, death of my father because of non availability of medical help in that village was another incident that moved me to migrate to India.

In 1996, I joined Apollo as Coordinator of the Cardiology Department. The desire and dream to initiate a hospital was triggered by the fact that a patient, who happened to be my teacher and a villager could not afford to pay his medical expenses. Add to this, the fact that I was unable to help him, despite being the HOD. I was disappointed and felt equally helpless. I strongly felt the need of healthcare facilities for lower middle class people.

In 1997 I started the first hospital under the name Metro Hospitals & Heart Institute with 110 beds at Noida. Within a year, a multispeciality hospital was started and over the years we are now having 12 hospitals in the group. I am not an entrepreneur nor was my objective business oriented.

How many hospitals are there in Metro Group and the specialty services that you offer?

We are now having 12 hospitals including the one in Haridwar which is going to start during this month. These hospitals are in Delhi, besides Meerut, Rewari, Vadodra, Gurgaon and Jaipur. The Hospital in Noida is a super specialty hospital and in Preet Vihar, Delhi we are having dedicated cancer institute. We are having all the advanced facilities in every super specialty. Majority of our consultants are of International repute and are on salary. Due to our transparency, research atmos-Dr Purshottam Lal phere, many of the consultants after retirement from the premier institutes like AIIMS, G.B. Pant etc. prefer to join our institute.

What are the technological advancements your hospitals have introduced lately in different verticals?

At Metro, we are dedicated to the highest quality of care not only by way of human dedication and compassion but also state of art equipments that are revolutionary in true sense. It is difficult to catalogue all the gadgets and machinery that goes in making of Metro but certainly we can name a few like the high end densitometer, multiple energy linear accelerator, 128 slice CT Scan which will help in outlining the coronary arteries in a better way and latest auto analyzers in our NABL accredited labs, endobronchial ultrasound to perform lung biopsy non-invasively which otherwise would have required surgery for doing the biopsy. Besides we are having latest MRIs, mammography and we make sure to have advanced cath labs and use upgraded monitoring in the electrophysiological procedures.

You are reckoned as the pioneer of interventional cardiology having largest number of FIRSTS and find mention several times in Limca Book of Records. Any memorable moment?

Every technique, I introduce remains a memory, may it be rotablator, atherectomy, inoue balloon, valvoloplasty without cath lab, stenting, heart hole closure etc. but the best I felt when I closed the ASD with a monodisc device and non surgical aortic valve replacement with core valve, both being for the first time in the world.

You are a member of the Delhi Medical Council and also member of Board of Governors, Medical Council of India. What are your experiences so far? Did you achieve what you wanted?

Having spent several years in States, I find the relationship between the patients and doctors is not the same which used to be rather than worse in States. Majority of such cases are based on lack of communication between the doctors and the patients. If the doctors really adopt the patient and do the proper counseling, such incidences can be checked. I joined Medial Council of India to contribute in the rural health care for which I advocated Three Point Formula, for assessment system of the medical colleges which I found very faulty and made many suggestions. Unfortunately, so far I have not been successful in this direction but I will keep on trying. I also feel the capitation fees should be made legal. I, however, have been successful to contribute changes in the land requirement for the medical colleges, as a Chairman of the sub-committee, meant for the purpose and the proposal has been sent to the ministry.

How about care and quality at Metro Hospitals?

Personal care and high quality is our biggest strength. We make sure our patients are given very good care on personalised basis rather than commercialized. Though, we have not taken any land on concession from the government nor we are obiliged to provide free care but our total OPD collection goes in charity for those who cannot afford. I along with my wife Punam Lal make sure that not a single patient should be turned down for want of money.

What are your future plans?

Govt. of UP has given us 40 acres of land in Noida to develop a unique health city for common people. In addition, we will be developing hospitals in Greater Noida, Narela, Delhi, Moga, Punjab and Agra, UP.

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