The first concept paper on the country’s tertiary hospital, one of the major flagship pledges of the Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa, was ready, health minister Dechen Wangmo said.

The hospital would be established in phases.

The education city project site at Wang Sisina, Thimphu is being considered as an option. The government is also exploring other options.

“But we need to look at many things before we finalise the decision. We need to look at the water supply, roads and other aspects of development,” the minister said. “There is no doubt we need a  tertiary hospital.”

The government pledged to establish a multi-disciplinary sub-specialty hospital for tertiary care.

The new hospital, the party’s manifesto says, will have facilities for kidney transplant, cardiac surgery, comprehensive cancer treatment, nuclear medicine, fertility centre and other facilities for which patients have to be referred outside the country today.

“Mechanisms will be put in place for efficient referral system to make services equitable and sustainable,” it says.

She said that the concept paper was drafted after a thorough study. “It is important that we study first. We looked at referrals outside, disease burden and what services are required.”

Fund for the construction of hospital is among the challenges facing the government.

It costs more than Nu 3 billion to construct a hospital in the country. The health ministry’s budget for the 12th Plan is Nu 3.5 billion.

“It is definitely above and beyond our allocation, so this government has a huge responsibility to mobilise the resources,” the minister said. “For me, that is the biggest challenge. But we’re quite confident that the government will be able to fulfil the pledge.”

In the meet the press session last week, Lyonchhen Dr Lotay Tshering said that the government would switch its focus from primary to secondary and tertiary health care because the country was graduating from least developed status.

Tshering Palden