What started in 1914 as separate medical institute for women, the Lady Hardinge Medical College has in these past few years been mired in controversies. Recently, the college received a notice from the regulatory authority to stop MBBS and PG admissions as it could not start a new IPD block that had been constructed a year ago. Newly appointed director Dr Subhash Giri spoke to this newspaper on issues the Centre-run medical institute has been marred with and also revealed the development plans for better medical training and patient care. Excerpts from an interview with Ashish Srivastava
The institute received a notice last month to stop admissions for medical courses as the LHMC did not meet medical regulatory body standards. Besides, the new infrastructure was also not operated timely. What are the reasons?
The recent notice is a continuation of the issues the college has been facing for nearly one and a half decades. The NMC had done an inspection in 2008 where it noted non-compliance on many parameters required for a medical college mandated by the regulatory authority. Since then, the NMC was issuing notices to the college to meet those compliances. However, the institute kept demanding extensions to implement the criteria. Last month, the NMC finally asked us to stop the admissions.
You have taken the reign of this institute only four months back. What are your plans to sort this matter?
After 2008, no inspection was done in the institute as it never met the regulatory criteria. But we have written to the NMC to conduct an inspection soon. We are working on a mission mode to complete the Comprehensive Development Plan for the institute that was conceptualized in 2018. A year ago, new IPD, OPD and Accident and Emergency Block were inaugurated but only the OPD was functional. Our efforts are towards starting the rest of the blocks as early as possible. Besides, a new pediatric hospital is in the pipeline. We are also giving priority to building hostels for undergraduate students and resident doctors.
We hear about research works from other institutes, but LHMC does not seem to have its focus there. Are you planning anything that may help research here?
The LHMC already has individual research labs in several departments. We have planned a central research lab where all departments would be able to conduct research together. The move will not just increase the coordination among staff but also save resources in terms of space, infrastructure, machinery and manpower and finance. Besides, a central investigative laboratory is also on the cards.
Though you are still new to the system of this institute, what are the challenges you have faced so far?
The toughest challenge for me was making infrastructural changes. However, I’m fortunate to have received overwhelming support from senior officers in the ministry and the honourable minister himself. My plan is to demolish buildings which are over 100 years old and are in a shabby state. They would be replaced by new infrastructure housing the latest and modern amenities for education, training and patient care.
You have headed big healthcare institutes in Delhi and are heading a medical college. What differences do you feel in administration and governance?
I have observed that the intervention of the political system and administrative control is more in state government institutes than those run by the Centre. The political leaders have more say in state-run centers. Besides, the financial and budgetary supports are way lesser in state-run institutes. Patient care is far superior in central hospitals.