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Kashmir residents no longer need to travel outside for advanced treatments

Kashmir now boasts over 40 operational private hospitals, with projections indicating further expansion shortly.
05:41 AM Jul 05, 2024 IST | MUKEET AKMALI
kashmir residents no longer need to travel outside for advanced treatments

Srinagar, July 4: In a significant development for the healthcare of Kashmir, the Valley has experienced a remarkable surge in private hospitals over the past few years, marking a new era of accessible and quality medical care for its residents.


This growth is not only enhancing the healthcare infrastructure but also eliminating the need for patients to travel outside J&K for advanced treatments.


Kashmir now boasts over 40 operational private hospitals, with projections indicating further expansion shortly.


This proliferation of healthcare facilities is a testament to the increasing investor confidence in Kashmir’s medical sector.


Managing Director of Modern Hospital and head of the association of private hospitals, Muzaffar Jan expressed optimism about this trend.


“It is indeed encouraging to see private hospitals emerging with facilities that previously required patients to seek treatment outside Kashmir,” Jan said.


He said: “Our data shows that 40 private hospitals are currently operating in Kashmir, and our reports indicate that many more are in the pipeline, both in Srinagar and other districts.”


The investment influx has led to the establishment of several state-of-the-art medical facilities, including Paras Hospital, Amandeep Hospital, Kawoosa Hospital, Ujala Cygnus, an upgraded Noora Hospital, and Medicare, among others.

These new institutions are equipped with modern technology and specialised departments, offering a wide range of medical services previously unavailable in Kashmir.

Jan highlighted the role of government initiatives in this growth, particularly mentioning the Government’s Golden Card scheme.

“The Golden Card scheme, which provides free insurance, has played a crucial role in increasing patient influx to private hospitals,” he said. “Kashmir now has adequate hospital bed facilities. One can even find vacant beds in government hospitals these days.”

This expansion of private healthcare is significantly impacting patient care.

Residents who once had to undertake arduous journeys for specialised treatments can now access quality healthcare services within their home territory.

This development is particularly vital for emergency care and the management of chronic diseases, he said.

MD Noora Hospital, Manzoor Ahmad emphasised the collaborative effort behind this growth.

“The government has played an instrumental role in fostering the private healthcare sector,” Ahmad said. “Our main objective is to provide quality healthcare services to patients within Kashmir, and it’s heartening to see new hospitals, including corporate entities, entering the Valley where there has been a substantial demand.”

While the increase in private hospitals is undoubtedly positive, some healthcare professionals stress the importance of making these services accessible to all segments of society.

Dr Samiullah of Star Hospital welcomed the development but emphasised a crucial point: “While it’s a welcome step that new hospitals are coming up, there’s a pressing need to create awareness about health insurance in Kashmir. People cannot afford corporate hospitals in the absence of health insurance.”

He said that the growth in the private healthcare sector was also expected to have positive ripple effects on the local economy.

“These hospitals are creating employment opportunities for medical professionals, support staff, and ancillary service providers, potentially stemming the outflow of skilled healthcare workers from the region,” Dr Samiullah said.

A Health Department official said: “At the heart of this transformation is the government’s ambitious plan to establish three medi-cities in Kashmir. These are slated for Bemina in Srinagar, Sempora in Pulwama, and Lelhara, Kakapora in Pulwama. The comprehensive proposal for these medi-cities includes the construction of hospitals, medical colleges, and various allied facilities. This initiative is designed to significantly boost healthcare infrastructure, with targets set for creating 5000 hospital beds and 1000 spots for medical students.”

According to officials, eight larger groups are planning facilities that would each exceed 200 beds, a development that is expected to create approximately 10,000 job openings in the healthcare sector.

This not only addresses the healthcare needs of the region but also contributes significantly to employment generation.

The administration, under the leadership of Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, has taken additional steps to attract investors to the healthcare sector.

A ranking system has been introduced to this end.

The initiative has already attracted substantial interest, with projects valued at over Rs 4000 crore in the pipeline.

“These projects include super-speciality hospitals, diagnostic centres, and nursing institutes, further diversifying and strengthening the healthcare infrastructure in the region,” officials said.