Critically examine the recent health ministry and NITI aayog proposal of public-private partnership (PPP) model to provide diagnosis and treatment for three non-communicable diseases in smaller cities.
The recent proposal by Ministry of Health and NITI Aayog to boost healthcare with PPP is a critical decision of the government as it will lasting impact on public healthcare. The proposal seeks to set up centres under the PPP model in district run hospitals which have at least 250 beds and an average daily footfall of 1000 patients in OPDs in the last couple of years. In addition, these hospitals should have vacant space on the premises for setting up a 100-bedded facility. It will cater to minimal screening, diagnostic and treatment procedures for cardiology, oncology and pulmonology.
The government rests its argument on the fact that treatment for non-communicable diseases is usually costly and also largely unavailable at district hospitals and the new approach will make the sophisticated services both affordable and accessible to local people. Also, the costs of health care won’t be affected as these will be provided at a pre-determined price and will also be available free of cost for BPL patients. It is also a win-win situation for private hospitals whose prime concerns are the cost of land and ensuring an adequate number of patients. In the proposal both are addressed as the land is being provided by the district hospitals and they will have patients referred by the government.
However, the health activists have raised concerns about a gradual privatisation of health care services and would result in a general rise in costs and will lead to benefit the private corporations. Furthermore, the outsourcing will increase the bargaining power of the private sector as the public system gets eroded and stands at the receiving end.
Thus, the government has to finely walk the thread and evenly weigh all the pros and cons factoring in futuristic trends in the benefit of the masses.