'Main challenge is to find staff for Woodland Hospital'
E Kumar Sharma September 11, 2014
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WOODLAND HOSPITALPlastic surgeon Dr Werlok Kharshiing was only 32 when, after completing his medical studies, he returned to his home state-Meghalaya -in 1975. Meghalaya was formed just three years earlier, after being carved out of Assam, and Kharshiing felt the new state needed more doctors. He joined a government hospital in Shillong and worked there until 1990 when he decided to bring the best of medical facilities to the state. He set up Woodland Hospital the following year. "We were the first private hospital in Meghalaya to acquire a CT scanner in 1994 and install an MRI machine in 2001," he says with pride. Karshiing, who lost his father at an early age and was brought up by his mother, got his degree in medicine from Assam Medical College. He went to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi for his post graduation in general surgery and followed it up with specialisation in plastic surgery from the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Research and Education in Chandigarh.
Woodland started as a 28-bed hospital but has expanded since then to a 164-bed multi-specialty facility. It has also tied up with SmileTrain, a New York-based charity that provides free surgery for cleft lip to people globally
Kharshiing says his biggest challenge is finding doctors, nurses and technicians willing to work in Shillong. "This place is still lacking in human resource. For example, we don't have qualified MRI and CT scanner technicians..we train them ourselves," he says.
One way in which he has dealt with talent shortage is by setting up a nursing institute - called the Woodland Institute of Nursing in 2007. "We offer three types of courses and train around 200 nurses in all every year across courses."
The hospital, which has an annual turnover of around Rs 50 crore, is also facing increasing competition. His biggest competitor today is a central government-funded institution - the North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences in Shillong. "You have to be on your toes now," says Kharshiing, who wants to set up a cancer hospital and one hospital in a rural area to cater to the poor.