March 06, 2007

Apollo, 20 others to set up hospitals in UK

A large number of private hospital groups and healthcare companies in the country are all set to set up their units in the UK.

The reason: There is an increasing demand for healthcare facilities in UK, which the present infrastructure cannot provide.

The Apollo Hospital Group which has its own units in Kolkata, Delhi, Chennai and other cities in the country has already got a green signal from the UK government to set up a hospital in London.

Parminder Sunda, sector manager, Asia (health care) of UK Trade and Investment, said, "The National Health Service (NHS) in the UK controls the healthcare system since the inception of the organisation in 1948. The NHS is now suffering from excessive long wait lists causing patients backlogs and prolonged waits in hospitals.

"Every patient now has waits six to eight hours every day to get treatment in the hospitals. We want to bring down the waiting period to two hours on an average by 2010."

Sunda along with six other delegates have come to Kolkata to explore trade investment in healthcare services in India. They will tour several other cities like Delhi and Chennai to find out opportunities in partnerships in healthcare services.

Sunda while talking to reporters during an inter-active session on Indo-UK healthcare seminar said, "About 20 private hospital groups Apollo Hospital Group, Escorts-Fortis Hospital and a Mumbai-based hospital have already approached the UK government to set up their branches in UK. The Apollo Hospital Group is reported to be talking to some other private hospital as potential takeover under the NHS."

Many Indian medical technology companies are also approaching the UK government for exporting medical equipment and machineries. More than 50 small and medium companies have shown interest in the fields arterial surgery, invitro-diagnostics and orthopaedics and others, one of the delegates said.

Kevin McCole, deputy head of British Deputy High Commission, Kolkata, said that the UK government is very much interested in public private partnership (PPP) ventures in healthcare services. Talks are on between the two countries.

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