Dr. Keith Hine visited CMC in March: here are his personal impressions.
I felt a sense of optimism around CMC. Clinical throughput has improved, bed occupancy has increased and the daily income has increased to about 30 lakh R’s. I think this is mainly the result of the specialist services such as Cardiology, Cardio-Thoracic Surgery, Bone Marrow Transplantation and Radiotherapy. The new Cardiac catheter laboratory [which was formally opened during the GB meeting] would be the envy of many hospitals in the UK and Cardiology can now deal with a very complete range of heart problems.
While there is optimism I do note that the level of bank debt has increased again but, for the first time in recent history, CMC is owed more by its debtors than it owes to suppliers (excluding bank loans)!
For example the Army owes CMC over 13 crore R’s for treating retired personnel – this is lucrative work but payment is often delayed many months. Also for the first time the annual income to March 2012 will exceed 100 crore R’s.
The Governing Body meeting went smoothly and speedily! All the GB business had been completed by 4.30pm on the Thursday. The Financial Report and Budget for the next year were discussed and agreed within half an hour. Accommodation for the increased intake of students and for junior doctors and nurses will be a pressure on the institution and there are imminent plans to address this problem.
Personally, I am saddened to see so many of my original contacts at CMC have left the institution. Even Emmanuel is retiring from CMC in June! But we continue to be encouraged by those that remain. Abraham Thomas works extremely hard both as clinician and Director and much of the turn-around in CMC must be attributed to his leadership. I am reluctant to name individual clinicians since there are so many who are doing more than is asked of them in the institution. Stanley and his co-workers in the Fellowship Department continue to provide effective and encouraging spiritual support for staff, students, patients and relatives.
The imminent opening of a new Fortis hospital in Ludhiana will be a major threat to CMC in the future. The Apollo hospital continues to develop its facilities and DMC seems to be providing a clinical service which rivals that of CMC. CMC now runs regular out-patient clinics in a wide range of specialities in the city centre, about half a mile from the Park Plaza Hotel. This is to try and attract patients from the more prosperous side of the city.
In summary there is some optimism about the state of CMC, but I think it must be recognised that much of the recent financial turn-around relates to the super-specialities. One must hope that CMC is able to continue to support those specialities in the face of increasing competition from other hospitals in Ludhiana.
Meanwhile, I remain convinced that Friends of Ludhiana has taken the correct course in developing the Good Samaritan Fund and seeking to support the poor and disadvantaged who require healthcare – that surely was at the heart of Jesus’ ministry when He was on earth and remains so.