The state government has decided to formulate a public private partnership (PPP) policy to pave the way for private sector investment in health services.
Under the policy, the private sector will be encouraged to set up super-specialty hospitals. Besides, the state government would run MRI, CT Scan, dialysis units, hi-tech pathological instruments and regional diagnostic centres with the private sector’s help.
The need for the PPP model was felt as there was a large inflow of patients in government hospitals which were hamstrung by a limited budget and poor utilisation of equipment, a health department official said. The private sector could help the department in providing affordable healthcare in rural areas, besides ensuring effective utilisation of equipment, he added.
The move comes at a time when the late detection of diseases and expensive treatment has led to an increase in the mortality rate in the state, particularly in the rural areas. Nearly 85% of the medical expenses are incurred in the private sector and each year 2% of the population in the country is pushed below the poverty line due to healthcare debt. The participation of the private sector would also help tide over a shortage of doctors and paramedical staff in hospitals.
The health and family welfare department will also invite private companies to offer housekeeping services in the government hospitals, maintain gardens and provide security. Also, the private companies will maintain the cold chain for vaccines and medicines, from the primary health centres to the district hospitals. Chief secretary Jawed Usmani chaired a meeting of the health and family welfare department officers to discuss the implementation of the PPP policy. The UP Health System Strengthening Project (UPHSSP) has been made the nodal agency for the implementation of the PPP policy. The World Bank will support the project by deputing a 12-member team. The team will help the health department in the management of the contract with the private companies.
Another officer said, “a health and family welfare department officers' team would study the success of the PPP model in West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Delhi and Gujarat.”
West Bengal is running MRI and CT Scan units in the medical colleges successfully, while Andhra Pradesh is operating an ambulance service. Bihar is successfully running radiology, pathology, bio-waste management unit and dental units, Karnataka primary health centres, Gujarat housekeeping and security in government hospitals, and Delhi laboratories and pathologies in government hospitals with the support of private companies.