Chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad recently invited Indian corporate healthcare giants to construct hospitals in rural areas, and offered them land to be provided free by the government. The CM vowed to strengthen peripheral health institutions of state and lessen the patient burden on tertiary hospitals in the city. “We offer free of cost land to the healthcare giants interested in constructing hospitals in rural areas, but they will have to provide free medical treatment to 15 to 20 per cent of the patients belonging to downtrodden class,” the chief minister told a gathering on the inaugural ceremony of Dr Khuroo’s Medical Clinic’s tie up with the Artemis Health Institute Association Gurgaon. Underscoring the need of attracting private investment in upgrading the health facilities and private-public partnership in healthcare sector, the chief minister said the tendering process of two ambitious projects of constructing super-specialty hospitals in Barzulla and Bemina has been completed. “Land has been acquired at these places, and we have received overwhelming response from the healthcare giants of India including Apollo, Fortis and others at national level,” Azad said. He said the formalities would be completed very soon and the construction on these super-speciality hospitals would be started in coming months.  The chief minister admitted the city hospitals here were overburdened and overcrowded due to huge rush of patients coming from the rural areas. “During my visit to premier maternity hospital Lal Ded, I saw three to four pregnant ladies sharing the same bed with 90 per cent of the patients coming from Kupwara, Kulgam, Varmul and other far flung areas of Kashmir,” the chief minister said. He said that according to a survey conducted by the Government of India, the Jammu and Kashmir is the only state where 90 per cent of the patients are being treated in public hospitals. He said that within one and half year, work on 33 construction projects of district, sub-district and other health centres have been undertaken on fast track basis of which 20 are from Kashmir and 13 from Jammu division. The chief minister said Kashmir was suited for medical tourism. “The world class medical treatment along with pleasure to stay to those seeking quality and affordable healthcare would be available through development of tertiary healthcare system,” he said. Dr. M. S. Khuroo while speaking on the occasion said that 15 per cent of the patients from Kashmir are attending outpatient department of some tertiary care hospitals in New Delhi. “Their number increases to 30 per cent during winter, which may come as a surprise for us,” Dr Khuroo said adding the patients are forced to move outside as there are deficiencies in SKIMS. “We should have trauma centres in each nook and corner of state with state of the art facilities to resuscitate, manage and follow up the rehabilitate patients,” Dr Khuroo said. About the Artemis health institute, he said the tertiary care institute is 500 bedded and focuses on cardiology and cardio-thoracic surgery, oncology (medical and surgical), orthopaedics, and minimally-invasive (laparoscopic) surgery. Dr Khuroo said the centre has all the modern gadgets including 3-tesslar MRI, 64-slice CT, PET-CT, modern theatre suites specialty built for tertiary care cardiac and vascular interventions. While speaking on the occasion, SKIMS director Dr Abdul Hamid Zargar said that 1.5 lakh people visited the tertiary care hospital last year of which 61,000 were attended in emergency and 44,000 were admitted in the hospital.

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