Come December and state-of-the-art public health care services in the city will have a new address: Omandurar Government Estate on Anna Salai.

The new multi-specialty hospital coming up in the Secretariat-Assembly block in the government estate will be fully functional by December, say officials. Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had said the institution would be a super-specialty unit on the lines of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi. Work on the conversion of this complex began in January this year, but was stalled pending a decision from the National Green Tribunal (NGT).

In February, work resumed in full swing with the NGT giving the go-ahead, but specified some alterations to meet the environmental standards.

Work is on day and night to convert the set of buildings (designed by German architect GMP) into a state fit to run a super-specialty hospital that the government hopes will be a definite value addition to the public health care system of the State. A minimum of five specialties are being built into the hospital: cardiology and cardiothoracic surgery, neurology and neurosurgery, vascular surgery, hand and reconstructive Surgery, and a dialysis unit.

Significant changes are being made to make the building hospital-friendly – including establishing ramps right from the ground floor to the 6 floor; modifying the existing lifts to accommodate patient beds and attendants, making provisions for nitrous oxide, air and oxygen lines, creating additional partitions for the wards, Intensive Medical Care units, Critical Care units and building over 200 additional toilets. Provisions are being made to use state-of-the-art systems to ensure complete sterility in operation theatres.

According to Public Works department sources, appropriate alterations have been made to incorporate the specifications made by the NGT. For civil works alone, the government has sanctioned over Rs. 26 crore, and for equipment, over Rs. 74 crore.

Equally significant from the health administration point of view is that for the first time, the government is considering a completely new human resources strategy. A proposal has been made to employ doctors on a consultancy basis, as is being done in the private sector. The Health department has also indicated a requirement for a huge contingent of staff nurses – about 250. However, this will have no financial impact on the patients, as services will continue to be free for them.

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