Panel submits report on better functioning of cooperative hospitals

Cooperative hospitals in all panchayats

Super-specialty hospitals in all districts

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Government is contemplating manufacture of medicines and expansion of the network of hospitals in the cooperative sector, Cooperation Minister G. Sudhakaran said here on Thursday.

The Minister was speaking after receiving the report of the five-member committee appointed by the government to recommend on improving the functioning of cooperative hospitals in the State from its chairman E. Narayanan. Mr. Sudhakaran said that some middlemen were preventing purchase of medicines by the cooperative hospitals directly from the manufacturers. The Government had ordered a Vigilance inquiry into the activities of commission agents.

He said that the 126 cooperatives hospitals in the State supplemented the work of government hospitals and provided better health care at lower costs. They would be strengthened and expanded to cover all panchayats. One or two super-specialty hospitals would be set up in each district.

He said that a seminar would be organised to discuss the report of the committee. The Cooperative Congress, scheduled for October 28, would also deliberate on cooperative hospitals.

The chairman said that the committee had put forward several recommendations for improving and expanding the cooperative hospital sector including manufacture of medicines and surgical materials. Exploitation by medicine manufacturers, distributors and private hospitals would be checked by the cooperative sector taking up production and distribution of medicines.

Mr. Narayanan, who heads the Cooperative Hospital Federation, said that the committee had also recommended measures to improve the functioning of the Federation. Further, it proposed that the Federation should set up super specialty hospitals and medical and para medical institutions

Besides, the committee had recommended that the cooperative hospitals should be exempted from heavy taxation and power and water tariffs. The hospital boards should be allowed to fix the salaries and service conditions of staff, depending on their financial position. However, they should pay salaries on a par with that in government service wherever possible.