New Delhi: India’s first chain of 100 specialist eye hospitals, branded EYE-Q, will be set up at a cost of Rs300 crore over the next five years by a group of doctors and health-care professionals, as investments in the sector chase niche business segments.
The latest entrant in the sector will make young doctors equity holders in the hospitals and stick to smaller cities for the first three years. “Single speciality hospitals are new to Indian scenario but will definitely catch up in the future. Eye hospitals are just one of the several possible formats,” said Abhishek Pratap Singh, senior consultant with Technopak, a consultancy firm.
EYE-Q’s revenues by the fifth year is projected to be about Rs240 crore. “We should break-even in six-and-a-half years,” said Rajat Goel, managing director of the company, adding that a fifth of the funding had already been tied in.
The booming Indian healthcare sector is set to receive an investment of over Rs15,000 crore in the next three years .
The first year will see EYE-Q setting up a hub in Gurgaon— acquired from Sheetla Hospital, it has been operational since January—and two spokes in Rewari and Dwarka. “We will be looking at both setting up new hospitals as well as acquiring quality eye-care centres, promoted by individual surgeons,” Goel said. The first and the second phases— stretching up to the end of 2010—will focus on smaller cities in Haryana, Rajasthan, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh.
A new model which the entrant is betting on to proliferate its units quickly, is to provide seed money of Rs40-50 lakh to promising young surgeons to set up their own eye-care centres, make them part owners and medical directors of that hospital unit and add them to the EYE-Q chain, said Ajay Sharma, the company’s chief medical director.
About 45 lakh cataract operations are performed in India every year and another 50 lakh people could be potential patients for laser eye surgery to correct vision.