In an interview with Hindustan Times, Dr Sudhir Naik, vice president, Association of Medical Consultants (AMC) says that the shut down of nursing homes will hit the middle class the most, which relies on them for affordable and quality health care.
Why do you think nursing homes in south Mumbai are dwindling?
This has a lot to do with migration of population from the south to north of the city. The population in south Mumbai is old and needs tertiary care and not so much the primary care that nursing homes provide. Besides, the younger generation living in south Mumbai is richer and is covered by insurance. They would like to go to the corporate hospitals. The land there is also overpriced and people now prefer selling nursing homes to running them.
Do you think the fire norms prescribed by the state government can be implemented?
I think the government is missing the bus with these fire norms. Nowhere is it stated in the National Building Code, 2006, that these norms have retrospective effect. After 2006 also, it is only applicable to stand alone hospitals, not nursing homes that are operating in residential colonies. The chief fire officer of Maharashtra has drafted norms related to nursing homes in residential colonies but these are yet to be codified. In the meanwhile, we have already started talking to dealers to procure smoke alarms. Most of us also have fire extinguishers now.
Doctors said that these norms are a conspiracy to do away with nursing homes. What do you feel?
I never thought this earlier, but I am increasingly feeling that there is a conspiracy to overthrow us. The government does not understand that even today, the most affordable care is provided by nursing homes. The middle-class will be in trouble if nursing homes shut down. They do not want to go to corporate hospitals because they are too expensive and do not want to go to civic hospitals because they are not in good shape.