Updated: May 9, 2022 8:44:08 am
After remaining under construction for nearly a decade, the new block for outpatient clinics at Lady Hardinge Medical College will be inaugurated on Monday. Soon after, the “unsafe,” old building will be vacated.
“All our clinical departments such as medicine, surgery and gynaecology will shift there after the inauguration on Monday. The old building is not in a good condition and other buildings will come up in its place once a finance approval happens,” said the hospital’s medical director Dr Ram Chander.
The building is a long time coming. The redevelopment plan for the hospital — which was established as an 80-bed centre in 1916, and grew to become the current 877-bed Sucheta Kriplani hospital and 377-bed Kalawati Saran Children’s hospital —was approved by the government 13 years ago.
The first phase of the construction, which focused on an alternative outpatient department that had been constructed in 1956, began in 2011.
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The project, however, remained in limbo for years after the private contractor abandoned it citing a lack of funds. The half-constructed buildings for years remained a breeding ground for dengue-transmitting mosquitoes.
The situation became dire in 2018 when the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) in a report said the structure had become “unsafe”.
The report said the roof was in a derelict state. OPD services continued to be provided from the same building to over 2,000 patients daily, including young children and neonates. Citing safety concerns, the doctors in the hospital went on a strike and withdrew it only on the assurance that construction would restart soon.
The space for the old block is likely to be utilised for a 1,300-bed paediatric and neonatal care facility in the second phase of redevelopment, which will make Kalawati Saran the largest children’s hospital in Asia — a title currently held by the 837-bed Institute of Child Health and Hospital for Children in Chennai.
“This building will be dismantled once approval for new blocks comes in. There is a proposal to create the Kalawati Saran Institute of Medical Sciences for Children — it will be a three-block Centre with state-of-the-art facilities for care of children and mothers,” said Dr Ram Chander.
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