Health: To reduce workload at the hospitals and reduce the outflow of Indian Rupee, a new diagnostic centre, Padkar Diagnostic Centre opened yesterday in Changzamtok, Thimphu.

It’s the fourth private diagnostic centre in the country and second to be opened in the capital in the last three years.

Former medical specialist at Jigme Dorji Wangchuck national referral hospital (JDWNRH), Dr Ballab Sharma, former medical officer Dr Lobzang Dorji and a private lawyer Jamyang Sherab opened the centre jointly.

Chief executive officer, Dr Lobzang Dorji said the centre’s key objective is to provide quality and timely services to patients. It was also to reduce waiting time for patients at the JDWNRH.

“We aim to provide service to people who can pay but can’t wait at the hospitals,” he said adding that a lot of Bhutanese are seeking medical service abroad in India and Thailand.

Currently the centre provides endoscopy and laboratory services; urine, stool, routine blood test and necessary bio-chemical tests. Machines for ultrasound and Echo diagnosis are in the process of being procured. Towards the end of the year, it will also open CT scanning facilities in its Phuntsholing branch.

Soon the centre would also offer “executive health check up” that are related to insurance servcies. Services are available at a minimum cost of Nu 200 for a dressing to a maximum of Nu 2,800 for an endoscopy-UGIE.

Dr Ballab Sharma said patients wait over a month for an appointment to get endoscopy done at the referral hospitals.

“With increasing hypertension and diabetic cases in the country, echocardiography (ultrasound of the heart) is a necessary service,” Dr Ballab Sharma said. “Patients wait for over two months for echo diagnosis.”

One of the objectives of Padkar Diagnostic Centre is also to create employment opportunities. Currently the centre has seven employees.

By Nirmala Pokhrel