Diagnostic centres to be set up in civil hospitals in Punjab under PPP mode
The Punjab health department plans to invite private players to set up diagnostic facilities inside civil hospitals.
According to a policy being finalised by the department, tenders will be floated for private players to set up diagnostic centres to be run under public private partnership (PPP) mode. The diagnostic centres will use hospital facilities and conduct tests for patients at the rate fixed by the government.
Under this plan, private partners can establish as many collection centres at hospitals in the district and provide services.
For services not available at the district hospital, the partner will procure machines from the market to carry out tests.
OVERCHARGING KEY CONCERN
Senior health officials say spending on tests has emerged as the biggest concern. As civil hospitals lack laboratories and machines to conduct tests, poor patients are compelled to have their tests carried out at private laboratories where there is no check on capping of prices, the officials said.
Such is the mismanagement in civil hospitals in Punjab that despite the availability of expensive machines such as ventilators, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT) scan, they are lying idle in the absence of operators.
State health minister Balbir Singh Sidhu says a comprehensive plan is being drafted to invite private players for the work so that patients get their tests done at regulated rates.
“Various states have already adopted this model and the Punjab government will also fix the rate for every test to avoid overcharging,” said the health minister. The pilot project in some civil hospitals will be started soon and the results will be monitored, he said.
The department has planned that the service provider will be responsible for investing in the equipment and manpower as per the terms of reference of operating the centre, providing the service and adhering to the laws and regulation that govern the process.
This model is being successfully run in government hospitals in Karnataka and Bihar.
Experts say the shortage of essential medium to high-end diagnostic services curtails the effectiveness of service delivery at government hospitals and results in unwanted referrals, resulting in overloading of patients in higher delivery centres.