Doctor | Success in giving the right upbringing | Innovation | Young and old in its 25th year of existence Sarvodaya Hospitals can be credited to have changed the face of Faridabad’s healthcare. But in the past 25 years of being on the mission to provide quality healthcare at affordable rates, Dr Rakesh Gupta, Chairman and Medical Director, Sarvodaya Hospitals has always had to be on his toes to achieve this feet.
But in his journey, he has not been alone. Supported by his better half Ashu Gupta, without whom he thinks this success would have been impossible, the two have made progressed towards success, inch by inch.
Dr Gupta says, “One can’t expect to reach the top spot in one day. It takes smaller but consistent steps to reach where you may aim to be and in this journey I have been fully supported by my wife, who has not only been my strength but also the one who has better managed things for me. If I am a planner, she has been the executor. If I am the dreamer, she is the achiever.” The dream of giving Faridabad premium healthcare services was born when Dr. Gupta was a senior resident at Escorts Hospital for about a year. He has finished his medicine from the Medical College, Rohtak and during his days at Escorts he realised the dearth of super speciality centers in his hometown: Faridabad. For almost everything residents here had to cross the border and go to Delhi. The ones who could afford private healthcare could do that and the ones who could not had to resort to the long queues at the public hospitals, this pained him.
Inspired by his father’s bent towards working for the society, Dr. Gupta was driven to serve the society too. As a business family that produced and packaged Mehendi, he had always acquainted himself to the problems faced by the locals and economically backward people. So when he was struggling with mathematics in school and pioneering in biology it was clear that his calling was to be a doctor. Pushed by his father, he could see his vision clear and put all his efforts into it.
He thinks, “God showed me a path to be custodian and serve people and that’s what I did.” As it happened, in college, he saw his passion towards the intricacies of a human body and found himself being more passionate about it. Even though an arranged marriage, for Anshu and Rakesh their hearts struck a chord on the common grounds of compassion and zeal to do something big.
They got married soon after Dr. Gupta finished his MD in Internal medicine and Sarvodaya was born in the shape of a small nursing home with 5 beds in sector-16. “At that time, there were a lot of clinics, run by husband and wife who were both doctors. But Anshu had studied humanities so I had to hold the medical say. I used to wish if she had studied medicine. But I had no idea of her hidden talents and strength.” They were blessed with two boys, of which one has followed the footsteps of his father and is finishing his MD in Internal Medicine and the other is soon to study Masters in Business to be an ace manager like the mother.
The nursing homes in Faridabad were overburdened with a lack of emergency facilities. Working round the clock, with no specific time for him, they built from 5 to 10 beds and to 20 beds, and soon launched casualty services. Dr. Gupta was overburdened with work, and even when he would take a short nap he would be bombarded with calls. It was then when his wife first started to share the load by managing his phone as he would slip into sleep. But fuelled by luck and life, when both boys grew up a bit, the Dr. Gupta decided to expand to Sector 19, in 1997 with 30 beds and multi speciality hospital and he found Anshu standing next to him, from day one, sharing the load. With their focus was on service for all at affordable rates, making sure patient went back happy and healthy, in next three years, they grew to 75 beds and also launched ‘Life In Wheels’ ambulance services to get timely and professional help to faraway patients.\
Anshu recalls, “We believed in making sure that the patients felt a personal touch and were best taken care of. Mostly lack of communication and shortage of time, patients start to feel that they are not being looked after. But that’s what we ensured, that they felt we were there for them at any given time. It was difficult to manage as work always took priority but we ensured our personal responsibilities were not affected either.” Good parenting for working couples they believed came with involving their children in each and every discussion about how they worked; their struggles and their plans. “The children not only understand the parents well, but learn to be responsible at an early age. I feel this gives them a lot of confidence on their own decisions and inspires them,” adds Dr. Gupta.
This comes as a reflection on the ease of communication the two shared with their parents early in their life. For them the meaning of success lies in being able to strike a balance between personal and professional, with demanding careers like these. In the next 7 years, Sarvodaya grew and continued to expand into units and sections but faced a lot of difficulties since it was old constructed building and they had to take space around as and when available. This made general operations cumbersome and complicated for example, one had to cross the road to get to the laboratory and the lifts could not be installed. It is then they realised that they would need an additional set up, a bigger, better one, a more world class one.
While Dr. Rakesh kept at the top of medicine, Anshu slowly started to take over all the operations and administration. In the words of Dr. Gupta, “We would not have come this far if not for my wife. I would dream, she would make it happen. I would think she would execute. In making Sarvodaya reach where it has, it is 90% her and 10% me.”
And then in 2007, after ten years of their day and night hard work, they started the construction of Sarvodaya Hospital and Research Centre in sector 8. Within a year, they had it ready with 200 beds and embarked on a journey to get the best of the best to the city. “I believe I am a custodian to do better for the community, to contribute and give it back and this was just an effort to do the same. Today we have 1200+ staff and we are always full with patients it is because we focus on cure+care to address any case.” But this was not as easy, healthcare is an ever evolving field and in the last ten years the face of healthcare has changed drastically in India. Keeping up with the competition and the upcoming trends Gupta felt that the primary thing that helped them come this far is relying on innovation and the young talent.
Dr. Gupta likes to call himself–a passion driven Doctor-entrepreneur and Anshu studied arts in her college but both learnt how to manage healthcare while being on the job. A small set up was easy to manage with a couple of hundred of employees but when they started the Sarvodaya Hospital and Research Center in Sector 8, they realised the need for new systems and practices to take things ahead. “This was a difficult time since things were moving at a fast pace and we were not very attuned to new practices and how to manage a hospital at a large scale.” It was then when their relatives, Amit and Ashish, young graduates in business and accounts came ahead to bring in fresher perspectives and newer approaches to make things seamless and more aligned and grow with them.”
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Tucked in Sector-8 of Faridabad, Haryana is Sarvodaya Hospital and Research Center. If you are not familiar with Faridabad you may expect it to be a local, regular hospital. But as you wheel towards the hospital, taking a left from the Mathura highway, you realise that you are in for a surprise. There stands tall, Sarvodaya Hospital shining white and bright. Bustling with people and activity, it is a state-of-the-art hospital spread across 4.25 acres, including 300 Beds, 65 ICU Beds, 6 Operation Theatres, and a floor based Cath Lab.
Step into the lobby and you are welcomed by a courteous staff, a medical store on right, and the lounge on left is full of local people with an international coffee shop next and a popular food chain in the atrium above. The lobby is overflowing with patients and their caretakers leaving one not many options to sit, you can identify the aroma of lemongrass, coming from the wellness center on the right, whiffing into you and automatically transporting you into a spa. But behind this swanky hospital is Dr. Rakesh Gupta’s simple heart with a desire to provide quality medicine. An MD in Internal Medicine, for him having a state-of-the-art hospital was a dream that he never imagined in his earlier days.
Born and brought up in Faridabad, to a business family that had Mehendi farms and production units, his father always stressed on working for society and believed that it is only work done for the benefit of the people that can take one ahead. So when the time came to choose a profession, Rakesh chose medicine. “Back then there were only two choices, medicine of engineering. Since my father was very keen that I should become a doctor to serve the society and I was not good with maths, I opted for medicine. While at it I could see the passion I shared about it. Ten years of immense hard-work turned Rakesh into Dr. Rakesh who had a dream to shape the healthcare sector of Faridabad,” explains Dr. Gupta, Chairman and Medical Director, Sarvodaya Hospital.
In the 1980’s Faridabad was not replete with facilities and healthcare was an untouched sector and Dr Rakesh was on a mission to change that. The seed thought for this started when Dr Rakesh was a Senior Resident at Escorts Medical Center for about a year in 1989. With a hundred bed it was the only hospital in Faridabad back then that could offer quality and multi speciality services but was an expensive proposition. His stint here sparked his imagination and in 1991, after marrying Anshu, ‘Sarvodaya’ was born in the shape of a small nursing home with 5 beds in Sector 16, Faridabad.
Back then there were not many places where a person could go. One had to go to Delhi to a government hospital or burn a hole in the pocket at a private hospital.
The nursing homes in Faridabad were overburdened with a lack of emergency facilities. Working round the clock, with no specific time for him, they built from 5 to 10 beds and to 20 beds, and launched the casualty services facility. This set up was lucky for them as they were blessed with two boys who were soon to be a part of every decision the parents would take about the hospital. In 1997, they moved to sector 19, with 30 beds and multi-speciality facilities but affordable for everyone. Till the first hospital, Dr Rakesh was handling things on his own but as they grew and expanded, Anshu saw herself getting more and more involved and had soon started to handle all the business. With their focus was on service for all at affordable rates, making sure patient went back happy and healthy, in next three years, they grew to 75 beds and also launched ‘Life In Wheels’ ambulance services to get timely and professional help to faraway patients. In the words of Dr. Gupta, “We would not have come this far if not for my wife. I would dream, she would make it happen. I would think she would execute. In making Sarvodaya reach where it has, it is 90% her and 10% me.” The elder son already on his way to finish his MD in Internal Medicine just like his dad and the younger one is soon to start his MBA programme, to get global practices in the business.
Programs Run By Dr. Gupta:
- Women Empowerment-
Save Girl Child Initiative in 2013– The awareness campaign was done in Faridabad, where NGOs of Faridabad working for the cause were felicitated by Mr. Deepender Hooda.
IRW- We worked with Faridabad Police for to raise awareness about IRW (I respect women App)
Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Abhiyan in 2015- We motivated and worked with Sarpanches & Zila Parshads to take steps for stopping female infanticide and for girl education.
We support mass marriages every year.
- Green Initiatives
We supported the largest Tree plantation in city with NGO Navchetna.
We also regularly carry out tree plantation with Rotary Club.
We participated in ‘Polythene Free Faridabad’ campaign of Red Cross Society Faridabad, where we organized sessions with NGOs and RWAs about harmful effects of polythene and distributed free cloth bags in societies, shops and villages.
We initiated Organic farming in Panhera village by motivating farmers. We also promoted organic farming, in association with DAV college Faridabad.
- Working for Animals- We work with organization ‘People for Animals’ for saving animals.
- For Thalassemic children- We regularly organize free blood and blood transfusion for thalassemic chidren with NGO- Foundation Against Thalassemia.
- Health for All
Swasthya Jan Chetna Inititaive- We regularly organize free health camps and awareness sessions in societies and villages and distribute free medicine for poor.
Free Surgeries- For last three consecutive years, for weaker economic section, we have been organizing free surgeries for children with Cleft Anomalies in association with Rotaplast.
Free polio correction surgeries- This is being done with ISHWAR NG0 for many years.
Eye donation awareness campaign
- Free medicine supplies during disaster events- We have supplied free medicines during disaster events like Kargil war, Kedarnath earthquake.
- Support & Motivate Physically Handicapped
We employ handicap persons at relevant jobs.
We support Indian Physically Handicapped Cricket team during India-Pakistan match
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
A development Sector Professional who started her career in journalism with names like TOI and Tehelka. What inspires Megha the most are the stories of people who learned to fight, to make it large. As an editor for India’s Most Inspiring Success Stories, her aim has been to bring out the stories that inspire to aspire. And for her, it has only reaffirmed her faith in dreaming and achieving.