The Chennai-based Apollo Hospitals Group which has a major plan of launching 250 hospitals across the country is being forced to go slow on them due to a scarcity of qualified healthcare professionals in the country.
Speaking to Hindustan Times, Dr Prathap C Reddy, Chairman of Apollo Hospitals Group said, “There is a shortage of 100,000 beds per year in the country. We have realised the necessity of building 250 super specialty hospitals but from where can I get skilled specialists and staff to run these hospitals?”
This factor led a four-month delay in the launch of Apollo’s hospital at Bhubaneshwar, which is now due to open in October. “We want to open 22 hospitals in the next 2 years. There are many investors who wish to invest in healthcare, and raising over Rs 10,000 crore for setting up 250 hospitals is not an issue but there is a shortage of qualified, skilled professionals in the country. India is supplying skilled professionals globally but there is a shortage in the country.”
Reddy said Apollo was on a plan to have a nursing college, a training institute for paramedics and an institute for training undergraduates at each of its hospitals.
Apollo is pushing for the government to grant infrastructure status to healthcare, which would enable it to borrow long-term capital from financial institutions, and also seek cheaper land and incentives to train talent. “If this is done, it can create direct employment of 2 million per year without the government investing for next 10 years,” Reddy said.