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CMC’s Rs 1,200-crore campus to open by May next

The proposed state-of-the-art, cutting edge technology laden Rs 1,200-crore new campus of one of the largest hospitals in the country, Christian Medical College (CMC), here in the district is expected to open its doors to the public by May next year.

CMC’s Rs 1,200-crore campus to open by May next
The under-construction campus of CMC at Kannigapuram in Vellore district


Once operational, the Kannigapuram campus will also be the only hospital in south India to have L1 (level 1) trauma care other than the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, hospital sources said. The high cost of the project is said to be due to the cost of equipment which will be state-of-the-art having cutting edge technology, they added.

The trauma care service is to ensure that accident victims in the golden hour (the first hour immediately after an accident) are provided treatment in which all specialities will contribute to decide the level of care needed. “We are currently interacting with hospitals in the UK, the USA and Australia and also some hospitals in India, including the Bengaluru-based NIMHANS (National Institute for Mental Health and Neurological Sciences), on how such a system will and should function to evolve a locally relevant model,” CMC director Dr JV Petertold DT Next.

With the new campus located at Kannigapuram near the Rathnagiri Murugan temple on the Chennai – Bengaluru national highway, “the L1 unit will have orthopaedic, anaesthesia, intensive care and CT scan units in addition to six operation theatres to ensure that patients get quality holistic treatment immediately,” Dr Peter added.

Further, Dr Peter said that once the new campus becomes operational, all super speciality departments housed in the hospital’s current premises at Thottapalayam in Vellore town will be shifted to the new venue, thereby freeing up space and reducing human congestion. The Vellore unit currently has a daily outpatient (OP) strength of 9000. To begin with, “we will first shift 1000 beds of the present campus’ 4000-bed strength to Kannigapuram, with the latter being upgraded in stages,” Dr Peter said.

The primary interest is, however, to reduce the waiting time that sometimes stretches to up to three months for operations in some departments. “Ideally, a patient should be operated the day after he arrives at the hospital, and to ensure this, we are increasing the number of operation theatres in the present campus from 30 to 41 while the new campus will have more than 30 operation theatres to meet the need,” Dr Peter said.

Also, to ensure that locals in Kannigapuram are not left out, the hospital started a local clinic in the area which would refer cases to the main hospital. “But already, the three-months-old clinic is oversubscribed,” Dr Peter said. The aim of developing peripheral hospitals is reportedly to reduce patient arrivals to the main hospital founded by Dr Ida Scudder.

There is also a 120-bed unit of the hospital in Chittoor that draws a daily OP strength of nearly 800, besides performing nearly 120 deliveries. “We plan to introduce orthopaedic services shortly,” Dr Peter added.

However, to ensure that patients are not put to hardship by taking the 12-kilometre-long commute to the new campus, CMC is expected shortly to hold talks with the district administration to see if the latter can chalk out a plan providing services to ferry patients from Katpadi. “Similarly, we are also planning vehicle services for both emergencies and on a regular basis to connect both hospitals,” Dr Peter said.

The new campus also has extensive staff quarters to ensure easy accessibility of personnel for medical emergencies. “We have dedicated mobile phones to contact doctors easily,” Dr Peter said. When asked about facilities for patients’ attendants, especially those from other States at the upcoming unit, the CMC director said private parties are expected to provide services as the hospital by itself would be unable to do much.

Also, construction of the medical unit campus has already resulted in land value in the area appreciating manifold, with realtors attracting clients by extolling the virtues of the new campus. “It is only a question of time before private lodges spring up in the vicinity of the new campus following which government transport feeder services will also crop up,” a government official said.

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