Surgical Cuts

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A world-class private hospital in Bangalore has been revolutionising the delivery of affordable heart surgery over the past 10 years. Its visionary founder, NHS trained cardiac surgeon Dr Devi Prasad Shetty, has pioneered a new model of mass healthcare which is now being replicated across India and attracting global attention. Mukti Jain Campion visits the hospital and examines the innovations at the heart of its success.

Narayana Hrudayalaya Hospital was purpose built to carry out up to 60 heart operations a day, more than any other hospital in the world. It also has the biggest paediatric cardiac surgery program in the world, attracting child patients from all over the Indian subcontinent and from many other countries too. The hospital is modern, well-equipped and clean despite being located in a typical Indian neighbourhood of dusty streets and chaotic traffic.

Every aspect of healthcare is closely and continuously scrutinised to bring down costs and try to provide excellent care for everyone who needs it, no matter what their financial status. The general wards are full of poor and working class people for whom a heart operation would be unaffordable anywhere else. But Dr Shetty stresses this is not a charity, it's a business which is scale-able and can be replicated - crucial for a country the size of India with vast unmet healthcare needs. It's a model which he believes can also be a beacon for other parts of the world facing the same urgent need to balance increasing demand for good quality healthcare within tight economic constraints.


Producer; Mukti Jain Campion
A Culture Wise production for BBC Radio 4.
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