Dr. Dharminder Nagar, Managing Director, Paras Healthcare
Paras Hospitals, a chain of hospitals providing specialized tertiary medical care across different parts of India has aims of expanding its operations into smaller towns and cities post-pandemic. After starting a Super Speciality Hospital at Gurgaon in the year 2006, they steadily expanded their services into Patna, Darbhanga, Udaipur, Panchkula and Ranchi reinstating their mission of providing affordable, accessible, quality healthcare to underserved areas. Paras Hospital’s entry into India’s smaller towns and cities in the country is likely to be a mixed blessing as India grapples with the shortage of well-equipped medical facilities.
Speaking on expansion plans, Dr Dharminder Nagar, Managing Director, Paras Healthcare Group said “Be it tier 2 or 3 cities and towns, private healthcare options are very limited across the country, if there at all. Within the next 2-3 years, we are planning to have 3,000 operational beds. Our 200-bed facility in Srinagar should start by October 2022 and a 435-bed hospital in Kanpur by April 2023. We expect to be operating a 400-bed hospital in Ludhiana by February 2025, a 350-bed facility in Meerut by April 2025 and a 300-bed facility in Jammu by September 2025. Panchkula facility is already functional however we will be adding 260 beds by April 2025. We might look at Faridabad, too, in the near future. At the macro level as well, we are adjusting our plans to the new reality. For instance, for our new hospital in Kanpur, we would have looked at having 80 ICU or critical care beds out of the 200. Now we are looking to have something around 140.”
“Within the next 5 years or so the healthcare sector will witness explosive growth as a whole. We have entered an era where health insurance will become a fundamental right in the next 5 to 10 years, and whether it is through private insurance or public insurance, almost every citizen will be covered to some extent. Second, after the reform of the Medical Council of India (MCI), the country is going to produce roughly 100,000 MBBS students a year and 50,000 post-graduates. This is going to push up the availability of doctors all across the country. Demand and supply-side growth will translate into explosive growth for the sector” he added.
Over the past decade, people residing in the small towns have also experienced quality healthcare and they are in demand it. As a result, Paras Healthcare have started to look at smaller towns and cities to expand their facilities.
“Apart from the worrying low doctor-patient ratio, quality cardiologists, oncologists, surgeons, diagnostic techniques remain mostly clustered in specific hospitals in metropolitan cities. Thus, if a person in a remote town suffers a cardiac condition and needs immediate care, he or she has to travel all the way to metro cities to get treated. This is a stark reality for millions of people, even when they can afford the costs of world-class healthcare. Contrary to common perception, this lack of quality healthcare is not just limited to the economically deprived sections of society. Even relatively well-to-do people often find it difficult to avail reliable and best healthcare advice and treatment. Even as hospitals and facilities come up all over the landscape, trustworthy and reliable medical facilities are scattered and too far and few. Not just rural areas, even smaller towns lack adequate health facilities and good infrastructure. Reaching out to the untapped smaller markets outside the metros is a win-win proposition for patients as well as providers” said Dr Dharminder Nagar.