No research at Rockland Hospital

Updated on Feb 26, 2008 02:13 AM IST
It is a cancer research institute, say documents of the Delhi Govt, but the hospital has done no research on cancer since it was set up in 2002, reports Vidya Krishnan.
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Hindustan Times | ByVidya Krishnan, New Delhi

It is a cancer research institute, say documents of the Delhi government, but the Rockland Hospital in Qutub Institutional Area has done no research on cancer since it was set up in 2002. It functions as a purely commercial hospital.

While the state government — which leased out land to the hospital at a subsidised rate for cancer research — is under the impression that a Foundation for Applied Research in Cancer (FARC) has been set up there, anyone who has been to the area can tell that no such place exists. What occupies the land instead is Rockland Hospital — a corporate set up with competitive rates.

After an NGO pointed out the lapse, a committee was set up by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to find out whether the hospital is doing any research activity.

After inspecting the hospital on April 28, 2007, it was found that FARC does not exist at all. In the inquiry report, the inspecting team had stated that, ‘prima facie no documentary evidence was produced of any research on cancer, at any stage since the inception of the hospital. Nor is there any FARC in this place’.

It was also pointed out that the hospital had not published any papers since inception nor did it have any manpower or infrastructure to support cancer research.

In their defense, the management of Rockland Hospital maintained the hospital had not taken grants or funds from the government and the issue was a closed chapter. “The inquiry committee has investigated the issue and the inspecting team was satisfied with our work. Ours is a small hospital and we are using internal resources to run it without depending on the government,” said Dr KS Bhimwal, Medical Director, Rockland Hospital.

Hindustan Times is in possession of papers in which the Medical Superintendent (Nursing Homes) misrepresented the report, informing DDA that the hospital was indeed involved in research — the evidence of which could be collected at a later stage, MSNH reasoned with DDA.

The inquiry committee was then directed to ‘reconsider’ their report and review their findings.

When contacted, officials of the Directorate of Health Services (DHS) refused to comment. “This is a matter between the land-owning agency and the hospital. We have no involvement in this,” said Yoganand Shastri, Delhi Health Minister.

Overlooking the inquiry report submitted by oncologists and qualified doctors, another official in the Ministry of Health added, “Only the science and technology ministry is qualified to inspect papers on cancer research.”

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