VISAKHAPATNAM: Even as health minister Kamineni Srinivasa Rao on Wednesday announced in the Assembly that the Visakha Institute of Medical Sciences (VIMS) would commence out-patient services on April 7, its chances appears bleak. With no recruitments and delay in purchase of equipment, the hospital services are unlikely to commence anytime soon.The VIMS was proposed for development on the lines of Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS) in Hyderabad. The government had already spent `75 crore on creating 4 lakh sft of built-up area. Though the construction was completed six years ago, it could not be made operational due to fund crunch to buy equipment.
The proposal to rope in private players under PPP mode was shelved, following public outcry. The hospital is now proposed to be developed in three phases due to fund shortage. Though the minister announced commencement of OP services from April 7, no specific orders have been issued so far. Doubts are being raised over the operationalisation of the hospital on the scheduled date as the government is yet to recruit staff and also arrange necessary equipment.
For running a 350-bed hospital, the VIMS would require about 1,200 staff members. But considering the decision to start only OP services initially, the hospital would require at least 100-150 staff members. “We have sent the proposals to the government on the hospital requirements and are awaiting decision. We will commence operations soon after necessary staff, equipment and funds are in place,” the VIMS director told Express.
Health department sources said that it had been decided to appoint necessary staff like doctors and nurses on deputation from various hospitals in the state. However, no measures had been initiated for deployment of the equipment as well as appointment of paramedical staff and Class IV (sweepers, workers, and security etc). The government has released `30 crore for purchase of equipment about a year ago, but there has been no further action. The government is also yet to take a decision on whether the diagnostic services will be started immediately by outsourcing them or will be started later by the hospital itself.Posing more hurdles, the hospital building has suffered damages during cyclone Hudhud and the contractors have reportedly asked for funds to the tune of `10 crore to take up the repair works.
Meanwhile, the CPM welcomed the decision but said that such announcements were made earlier. The party members demanded release of at least `100 crore for the hospital immediately and commence full-fledged operations instead of restricting to OP services.
No Plan to Privatise VIMS, Says Kamineni
Hyderabad: Health minister Kamineni Srionivasa Rao on Wednesday clarified in the Assembly that there was no proposal to privatise the Visakha Institute of Medical Sciences (VIMS) hospital. The minister was replying to a question raised by YSR Congress MLA K Sarveswara Rao who pointed out that there had been no progress in the revival of the hospital even three months had passed after the state Cabinet decision. But, the health minister replied in negative. “Instead, efforts are being made to attach the hospital to NTR University of Health Sciences (NTRUHS) and develop it into a Centre of Excellence,” he said. He went on to add that the NTRUHS had budgetary allocation of `300 crore and part of it could be utilised for the development of the VIMS which is facing fund crunch. BJP floor leader P Vishnu Kumar Raju also criticised the delay in commencement of the services and pointed out that due to heavy rush, the King George Hospital (KGH) was not able to cater to the needs of north Coastal Andhra and East Godavari districts besides the neighbouring states of Odisha and Chhattisgarh.
- To start only OP services, the hospital needs at least 100-150 more staff members
- Despite being built 6 years ago, operations delayed owing to fund crunch to buy equipment
- Proposal to rope in private players under PPP mode shelved following public outcry
- Hudhud damages yet to be repaired with contractors demanding `10 cr for it