Kolkata-Epicenter of Healthcare in East

Richa S Debgupta

Richa S Debgupta
Zonal Director, Fortis Healthcare

To make PPP successful in Bengal, trust factor between government and private players should be re-established, Richa S Debgupta, Zonal Director, Fortis Healthcare tells Elets News Network (ENN)


Fortis is one of the new comers in the eastern healthcare market. How do you analyse the overall scene of the eastern market?

Fortis is a relatively new player as compared to corporate groups present in the healthcare market of the east. Over the past few years the group has grown organically and inorganically. We forayed into this market with some strong acquisitions such as Wockhardt hospital which is now a part of Fortis group. We are a people oriented company and the entity of a company remains within the workforce that it possesses. The entire eastern market is glistening with new opportunities and we are trying our best to give to offer our best possible services to our patients.

How do you cater your services to the massive influx of patients which come from Bangladesh and other adjacent north eastern states?


The prime challenge that we are facing at this moment while dealing with a gamut of patients coming from different parts of India as well as from neighbouring countries like Bangladesh and Nepal, is that we have dealt with a massive catchment area. We are currently catering our services to a massive population which is coming in from different parts of the country as Kolkata is the epicenter of healthcare in the east. All the major super specialty hospitals are located in the city which is why the pressure on the city based hospitals are soaring day by day. The growth of the market is also affected by the irregular distribution of the healthcare institutions. It is still in a nascent stage in comparison to other states of India. We need to distribute the hospital facilities in different parts to state to bring in parity and reach a state of healthcare equilibrium.

How Fortis is reaching out to the massive population? What is your modus operandi?

Fortis has established a lot of healthcare information centers in different parts of the state to cater to the massive population, which is pouring in from northeastern states and also from foreign countries like Burma, Nepal, Bangladesh. We are partnering with smaller nursing homes and medical centers in the districts and senior doctors from our end is visiting these areas and conducting OPDs. These small centers are helping us massively. It is helping in diagnosing the diseases in the bud and the patients are getting a post hospital treatment in these health docks.

The outflow of traffic of patients and doctors from Bengal has reduced considerably over the years. How do you look upon this development?

Over the years the healthcare industry in the east has evolved a lot and the entire demography of the eastern health care market has changed. New players plunged into the market which led to the creation of new jobs and that affected the outward traffic of doctors from the state. Many came back to Kolkata and started fresh and also patients gained back the lost reliance on healthcare system in the east and their bent towards the western and southern states for better healthcare system also diminished with time.

With digitisation of healthcare many patients are well informed about a disease. How do you see this transformation?

It is great to have patients who are literate and focused on their needs. It makes things easier for the doctors and also for the patients. A proper communication channel is established in between both the parties and this helps in the long run. Digitisation and modernisation are also very important for healthcare at this moment. We keep upgrading our technology and are at par with the global healthcare. We are talking about minimal access surgery in heart and mulling over the idea of minimal access neurosurgery. At the same time we are training our team of doctors and paramedics rigorously who can offer the best possible services to the people of the state. Digitisation is the only way through which we can only change the face of the health care industry of the country.

How can government and private sector work hand in hand towards the development of the state of healthcare system?

FortisI believe government run hospitals are doing pretty well and trying their best in meeting the healthcare related needs of the people of Bengal. The excessive pressure of patients in the government hospitals is actually crumbling the existing infrastructure. This is the place where the private players can chip in and can partner the government hospitals in providing best possible services to the citizens. But currently both government and private players are working separately as the trust factor between the two is missing. We need to reestablish faith and we must reach to a consensus, and government must understand that we are not here to make money. If we can create a common platform then we very well work under PPP model.

The healthcare industry is struggling to create skilled manpower, which is affecting the growth of the industry. Where is the problem?

Manpower problem has been looming large over the industry for years and that is adversely affecting the growth and the economy of the industry. Presently there is a massive scarcity of skilled hands, which is needed to run the machines and run the show. To increase the inflow of new and skilled manpower we need to increase the population of medical and nursing colleges within the state and government needs to ease its stand on the licensing process and also on their need to unknot the age old regulations which are there within the system. We as private players are constantly sanitising our staffs through on job training and skill development programs. To attract more youths into the nursing profession state and the central government must lay down some progressive plans.

Digitisation is the only way through which we can change the face of healthcare industry in the country

How private hospitals in Bengal are working towards the development of rural healthcare?

To establish a proper rural healthcare system we need to build up a proper civic infrastructure, which will help the doctors and the entire medical fraternity who are working in the rural part to get a decent life out of their living. Today Tier II cities in Bengal lacks in proper civic amenities, the government must upgrade them to facilitate modern healthcare.

What are your plans for the eastern region?

Fortis will add up the current strength of the beds that we have in our hospitals, we are also keen on acquiring new properties and also eager to start liver transplant facility and also radiation facility in the east soon.

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