New Delhi, Jan 23 (IANS) The Rockland Group plans to open three new hospitals in the National Capital Region (NCR), two of them this year, and create a network of over 4,000 doctors across the country to provide advanced healthcare.
"We have developed a multi-speciality hospital in Manesar (Haryana). It will be opened Jan 24. It will be the biggest hospital in Manesar with 505 beds," Rockland Group chairman and managing director Rajesh Srivastava told IANS in an interview.
He said the second unit of the Rockland hospital in Qutab Institutional area in the national capital will be operational by the middle of this year.
"Our fifth unit will be in Greater Noida (Uttar Pradesh). It will have over 500 beds and will open in 2015," he said.
The Rockland Group, which forayed into the healthcare business in 2004, runs two hospitals - one in the Qutab Institutional Area and another in Dwarka in the national capital.
Srivastava said the promoters of the company would dilute their minority stake to raise Rs.200 crore in 2013-14 to partly fund the expansion programmes.
"We will raise the money from private equity funds or venture capitalists who specialise in healthcare," he said.
Asked whether the company has any plan to go public and list on the stock exchange, Srivastava said: "There is no such plan at the moment. We will dilute our minority stake and have sufficient money to fund the planned expansion."
And to expand its reach in other parts of the country, Srivastava said, Rockland will tie-up with smaller hospitals and create a network of over 4,000 doctors.
"This is an innovative model. We will start with Haryana and Rajasthan and then expand in other parts of the country. Our target is to reach 400 districts by 2020," he said.
The company plans to invest Rs.300 crore in building the network in smaller cities. Under this model the Rockland will tie up with small hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, diagnostic labs, imaging centres and pharmacies and help provide advance medical facilities with the help of technological innovation.
Srivastava said there were huge scope of expansion in India's healthcare industry.
According to the World Health Organisation, the value of India's healthcare industry is estimated at Rs.3.75 lakh crore and is likely to double in the next five years.
A majority of the population in India do not have access to basic healthcare facilities as the country invest just nearly one percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) on primary healthcare. There is an average 0.6 doctor per 1,000 people in India against the global average of 1.23.
Srivastava said the government needed to tweak the policy to attract private investments in the sector. Nearly three-fourth of the healthcare investment in India in the recent years have come from private sector.
Srivastava said the development of modern hospitals would boost medical tourism in India. "Nearly a quarter of our revenue will come from medical tourism in the coming years," he said.
Over 110,000 foreign patients, mostly from Africa and the Middle East, visited India in 2011. They included 35,200 from Africa, 30,800 from the Middle East and 19,800 from the neighbouring South Asian countries, according to health ministry data.
(Gyanendra Kumar Keshri can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)