Second teaching institution after AIIMS to have the facility

Patients seeking treatment at the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital can now look forward to reduced stay in the hospital. They would be offered the option of laparoscopic procedures.

On Tuesday, the hospital, attached to the Madras Medical College, became the second teaching medical institution in the government sector in the country to establish a minimal access surgery unit.

The All India Institute of Medical Science is the only other teaching medical institution with such a unit.

Funds for the unit, which has come up at a cost of around Rs. 4 crore, came from the revenue received from the Chief Minister’s Health Insurance Scheme, said Health Minister C. Vijaya Baskar, who inaugurated the unit.

Dr. Vijaya Baskar said the unit had been set up following the Chief Minister’s announcement that fellowship programmes will be offered in the State. Two fellowships will be offered in MMC on laparoscopic surgery. In due course, the rest of the colleges will also offer fellowship programmes.

According to him, government hospitals in the State had so far earned around Rs. 418 crore under the Chief Minister’s Comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme.

A total of 5.45 lakh patients have benefited from the scheme. Of this, 2.8 lakh patients have sought treatment at government hospitals. “The GH has earned around Rs. 67.43 crore, of which around Rs. 55 crore has been used to upgrade infrastructure.

The State is one of the best performers in reproductive and child health with steady decline in infant mortality rate and maternal mortality rate,” he said.

Health Secretary J. Radhakrishnan said the specialisation was important for the benefit of patients. He urged the hospital’s healthcare staff to make patients the focus of their attention.

Dean V. Kanagasabai said Rs. 3 crore was spent on upgrading the intensive care units, the surgical units and on purchase of equipment. The unit will have a separate outpatient section that will function for two hours from 10am on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Ten beds each for male and female patients had been allotted. The unit would be able to do eight to 12 surgeries a week. The facility would help self-employed persons who could not take long leave from work for medical reasons.

S. Deivanayagam, head of general surgery, said laparoscopic surgeries required only small incisions. They reduced hospital stay for patients and morbidity. The unit would be headed by laparoscopic surgeon P. Balaji.