A 15-bed Intensive Cancer Care unit has been set up at Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital (GH).

Health minister C. Vijaya Baskar inaugurated the facility in the presence of S. Shanmuga Kumar, head of radiation oncology, GH, on Friday. The minister said this was the first ICU for cancer patients in a government hospital in Tamil Nadu. Of the 15 beds, 10 are for adults.

Funds generated under the Chief Minister’s Comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme (CMCHIS) have been utilised for setting up the ICU at the department of radiation oncology at a cost of Rs. 20 lakh. With this unit, the number of beds for ICUs at GH has increased to 250, V. Kanagasabai, GH dean said.

“The hospital has ICUs for medical, surgery, orthopaedic and geriatric departments. The cancer ICU is equipped with two ventilators, 15 multipara monitors, pulse oximeters and centralised oxygen supply,” he explained.

The department has earned Rs. 2.5 crore under CMCHIS, of which Rs. 1.5 crore has gone into purchasing High Dose Rate Brachytherapy equipment for treatment of cancers including those of the cervix, breast, head and neck and esophageal cancer.

‘104’ helpline gets good response

The minister later visited the 104 call centre on the premises of Government Kasturba Gandhi Hospital, Triplicane. The health department’s round-the-clock helpline has been receiving good response since its launch a few days ago.

“On Thursday, the helpline received 1,000 calls from across the State. It is a boon for people in rural areas as they can easily access health information,” the minister said. Officials said from 12 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, the helpline had received 4,626 calls.

GVK Emergency Management and Research Institute, which operates the 108 ambulance service, is handling the helpline.

By calling 104, the public can get health information on issues including first aid, nutrition, disease prevention, healthcare services and facilities. They can also register grievances over deficiencies in healthcare delivery.

One of the important features of 104 is real-time grievance redressal, an official of the directorate of public health said. “For instance, if we receive information that a duty doctor has not come for work at a primary health centre, we will depute a doctor from the nearest facility in half an hour time,” he said.

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