An advanced high-tech cancer treatment institute will be setup at Guru Nanak hospital of Government Medical College (GMC) here following the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Punjab government and the Centre last month.
Known as ‘State Cancer Institute’, it would come a cost of `120 crore, with the Punjab government share to be just 20%, GMC principal Dr Santokh Singh told HT here on Sunday.
Though Guru Nanak hospital has a separate cancer treatment wing, it lacks high-tech equipment for treating the disease. It has a Cobalt unit for cancer treatment, which is outdated and has been subjected to constant repairs.
A bracchy therapy machine for cancer treatment was also sanctioned for the hospital by the UPA government under the Prime Minister’s Sehayat Surakshah Yogana. However, as soon as the machine arrived, it was shifted to Bathinda on a plea that as Guru Nanak hospital would be getting a State Cancer Institute, it would get many more advanced and high-tech machines and equipment.
Super specialty block ready
The principal pointed out that a new Guru Tegh Bahadur super specialty block at Guru Nanak hospital was almost ready, which again came up under the Prime Minister’s Sehyat Surakshah Yogana cleared by the previous UPA-government.
The six-storied super specialty block will have nephrology, radiology, neurology and a few other departments. The cost of the building and the equipment to be installed at the block is around `25 crore.
While all expensive equipment, including diagnostic and treatment machines, will be purchased by the central government, other equipment, costing less than `1 lakh, will be purchased by the GMC authorities.
“At present, we do not have funds even to purchase beds and furniture for this block. We will try to get these under some central scheme,” stated Dr Santokh Singh.
In fact, over the last 5-6 years, a majority of the blocks and departments that have come up at Guru Nanak hospital have been set up under some central schemes and funds, including Bebe Nanaki Mother and Child Healthcare Centre, Swami Vivekanand De-addiction Centre and a multi-research laboratory.
GMC seats to be increased
The principal said GMCA would increase the MBBS seats from the existing 150 to 200 from the next academic session.
“As per a Medical Council of India (MCI) guideline, the increase has to be of 100 seats. However, we pleaded our case before the MCI that we did not have the finances for the requisite increase, and thus, the MCI agreed with our proposal for an increase of 50 seats,” Dr Santokh Singh added.
He pointed out that the increase was in accordance with an all-India scheme mooted by the union ministry of health and family welfare. While the increase was to be of 100 seats for some of the old and well-established colleges, it was to be of 50 seats for the lesser known colleges. GMCA comes under the 100-seat category.
“However, for increasing 50 seats, we require to upgrade our infrastructure, as ours is one of the oldest medical colleges in the country. We will have to build new lecture theatres, as the old ones were built to accommodate 100 students only. Then we will require more hostels and even new laboratories,” he added.
As per a rough estimate, each new seat will cost the medical college a whopping `1.2 crore. The college is chalking out a plan to seek funds under various central schemes of the union health ministry for the increased seats. Under the plan, the share of the state government will be 30%, while the rest expenditure will be borne by the central government.
“An MCI team is scheduled to visit our college and hospital shortly for taking stock of the facilities here and considering our proposal for the seat increase,” stated the principal.