Offers suggestions to improve healthcare in Goa; Says centralisation of surgical care can improve results, lowers costs
Praising the Goa Medical College (GMC) Hospital at Bambolim for its “truly outstanding care delivered by amazing doctors”, a Goan consultant surgeon in Adelaide has also lauded Health Minister Vishwajit Rane for providing the people of Goa access to high-quality medical care at affordable costs without having to leave Goa.
Associate Professor Savio George Barreto is presently consultant surgeon in the Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary (HPB) and Liver Transplant Unit at Flinders Medical Centre. He also serves as Deputy Director of the MD Programme and Coordinator of the Advanced Studies component of the MD in the College of Medicine and Public Health, Flinders University, South Australia.
Dr Barreto completed his MS (General Surgery) at Goa Medical College and did his fellowship in Gastrointestinal (GI) and HPB surgical oncology at Tata Memorial Centre in Mumbai. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons. He worked as Consultant Surgical Oncologist at the Department of GI & HPB Surgical Oncology, Tata Memorial Centre, Mumbai and also served as Consultant Surgeon in the Department of GI Surgery, GI Oncology and Bariatric Surgery, Medanta – The Medicity, Gurugram.
“Over decades, the GMC has been at the centre of delivery of quality care to the people of Goa, and neighbouring states bordering Goa. Truly outstanding care has been delivered by amazing doctors at the GMC to every patient who has walked through the doors of the hospital without discrimination (something I have witnessed first-hand),” acknowledges Dr Barreto.
“As the number of private hospitals in Goa increases, they have a wonderful opportunity (and responsibility) to help share the immense pressure placed on the GMC over these years.” “Although I have not worked in Goa for over 16 years, I know doctors working in GMC, as well as in the private hospitals - many of whom I have been trained by, or trained with. I am aware of the good work they are doing, as well as their desire to strengthen the delivery of quality care to the people of Goa.”
“Goa is also blessed with a dynamic, and progressive, health minister in Vishwajit Rane. The people of Goa deserve the opportunity to access high-quality medical care at affordable costs without having to leave Goa,” said Dr Barreto.
When asked for suggestions to improve healthcare in Goa, Dr Barreto said improving healthcare in any part of the world, not just Goa, begins with every clinician.
“As doctors, we know that the best approach to delivering healthcare is to base it on the strong foundation of trust. Transparency in our words, and actions, is key to building that trust”. “Providing quality care begins with an honest desire to deliver it. Regularly auditing our patients’ outcomes to objectively determine if our practices are doing what we intended, is the next important step”.
For the small state of Goa, Dr Barreto acknowledges there would be limited opportunities for many surgeons to perform complex surgeries in large volumes.
“Thus, doctors sharing an interest and expertise in performing these less common, but complex, surgeries must consider working together as a team. Others in the State should then support these dedicated teams by referring patients needing those surgeries to them.”
He said this concept of centralisation of surgical care to a well-functioning team has globally been shown to improve patient outcomes.
“There may be opportunities for such teams to be set up at GMC, or potentially, at private hospitals outside of the GMC by the utilisation of existing resources (surgeons, nursing staff, allied health, radiology, oncology, etc) within those hospitals. The latter could help the government avoid having to create a whole new team within GMC.”
“However, such an exercise must involve a lowering of the healthcare-related cost to the Government and individual patients. As an example, when I worked at Medanta – The Medicity with Dr Adarsh Chaudhary, we used to perform a large number of complex pancreatic surgeries, for example, the Whipple’s operation. By having a dedicated team operating large numbers of such patients, complication rates were low, which translated into costs incurred by patients for the Whipple’s operation being lower than in most centres in India, and certainly compared to the rest of the world. The Cardiology Unit at GMC is a fine example of such a specialised, centralised unit,” said Dr Barreto.