Multi-speciality hospitals in the city are on an expansion spree — thanks to heavy influx of international patients in these facilities. But does Gurgaon, an emerging medical tourism hub in the country, have the infrastructure that complements its world-class hospitals?
The picture of affluence painted inside the four walls of these hospitals gets shattered the moment one steps out. Poor maintenance of roads, chronic traffic jams, pigs, street dogs and the shabby Mini Secretariat are just some of the many problems plaguing the city.
“Five years ago, they were called medical tourists. Today, we call them international patients," said Rashmi Hingorani, marketing manager of Columbia Asia hospital.
These multi-speciality hospitals — Artemis Health Sciences, Fortis Memorial, Medanata, Alchemist and Columbia Asia — look after the patients' all through their stay, right from their landing at the airport to their boarding the flight back home. Their food, travel, accommodation, communication and visa formalities are taken care of by the hospitals.
“Usually, an interpreter accompanies the patient. He helps the patient with the immigration, visa formalities, brings him to the hospital takes him out shopping to the malls. We also make sure the patient is provided his/her local cuisine," said Deepak Chawla, leader of the international team at Artemis Health Sciences.
But if the city is dotted with potholed roads and there are constant snarls on the streets, even the best facilities get nullified. "However, we make our patients feel comfortable. The city's infrastructure has to be supportive. The government has to make things better for the hospitals and its patients. There are so many potholes on the roads, ambulances get stuck in traffic. It is very dangerous," said Dr Devlina Chakravarty, chief operating officer of Artemis Health Sciences.
To this, Haryana Urban Development Authority (Huda) administrator Parveen Kumar promised that Gurgaon's roads will be repaired in the next one month. “Gurgaon has received the heaviest rainfall in 10 years. All the potholes will be filled and roads will be repaired in a month," he said.
International patients come to India for treatments such as cardiology, spine surgery, neuro surgery, cancer treatments and orthopedics. Lately, plastic and other recontructive surgeries are also gaining prominence.
In their feedback sessions with the hospital, though international patients have praised the hospitals' hospitality and services, they have also comment on Gurgaon and compared it to their native city.
“We all want Gurgaon to look like London and New York. People's expectations are too high and our efforts have not been able to fulfil them. But with so many projects initiated, the city will look good in six months to one year's time," said SS Dhillon, secretary of the state's town and country planning.
"If these patients are exposed, they will get lost in the city. The transport system is bad. Eventually, our services do depend on this basic infrastructure,” said Dr Naresh Trehan of Medanta.
Ashok Chordiya, zonal director of Fortis Memorial, “A road with convex ends, drain at both ends to avoid water-logging and well-tiled pavements — lay this all over the country and it will be perfect.”
When asked about Gurgaon's image being tainted due to its poor infrastructure, Parveen Kumar said, "The city is only 20-years-old and has seen phenomenal growth in the last 10 years.”