Fortis Healthcare has signed a memorandum of understanding with East Coast Hospitals, Puducherry, to operate and manage the latter. East Coast Hospitals will be rechristened Fortis East Coast Hospital.

With this initiative, Fortis Healthcare has expanded its presence in South India adding to the existing facilities in Chennai and Bangalore.

East Coast Hospital is a 100-bed facility and the plan is to expand it to a 250-bed facility in the near future. Fortis East Coast Hospital will be the first corporate hospital in Puducherry, which will be a multi-speciality hospital.

Bhavdeep Singh, Chairman, Fortis Malar, and CEO, Fortis Healthcare, said, his company would provide clinicians and nurses to East Coast Hospital, while the latter would provide the infrastructure. He said Fortis Healthcare was expecting to begin operations by April this year.

Addressing a press conference here on Friday, he said that Fortis had planned to set up 50 standalone dialysis centres in the country over the next 24 months. This would be part of the company's expansion plans, which would include tapping newer regions. The company today has 52 healthcare centres.

The company was planning to set up similar hospitals in Tier-II cities such as Coimbatore, Tiruchirapalli and Madurai. Besides it was looking at Kerala and Andhra Pradesh for a presence in the southern region.

Fortis was planning to expand the existing Fortis Malar in Chennai by revamping the building. It had already purchased the adjoining land for further expansion and would invest Rs.45-50 crore in the existing facility. The additional building would have 50 beds with focus on speciality services.

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