New Delhi: The health ministry has finalized tenders for upgrading 23 government medical colleges (GMC) under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY) in May.

If everything goes according to plan, the work will be completed before the 2019 deadline for these projects.

The tenders have been finalized at a cost of 1,525.80 crore. The centre-state spending ratio is 80:20 for the project. The medical colleges that are part of the plan are located in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat.

The upgradation programme broadly envisages improving health infrastructure through construction of super-specialty blocks and trauma centres. It also includes procurement of medical equipment such as heart-lung machine. A separate fund of 45 crore has been allocated to each college for buying medical equipment.

“We are looking to finish the projects by December 2018 or so," said Sunil Sharma, a joint secretary in the health ministry.

The primary objective of PMSSY is correcting regional imbalances in availability of affordable tertiary health care. The colleges have been given the choice between building 150-250 bedded blocks with some equipment or create a super-specialty of their choice. “It depends on the region-specific priority and need," said Sharma.

Under PMSSY, launched in 2006, 70 GMCs were to be upgraded. Of them, 16 have been upgraded. The government plans to upgrade 40 more over the next two years. Out of these 40, the health ministry has finalized tenders for 23 last month.

The 40 GMCs will add a total of 290 super-specialty departments, including cardiology, nephrology, urology, gastroenterology and burns. In terms of capacity, 8,598 more beds will be added to the GMCs, including 1,745 beds in intensive care units. It will also include 287 operation theatres.

The upgradation work will also add 666 post-graduate medical seats in these colleges. The tenders for the rest of the GMCs will be finalized over the next two months to ensure that the project meets the deadline.

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