MP plans to hand over 10 trauma centres, 13 path labs to private players
MP officials said the 10 trauma centres will be handed over to private firms to take charge of the emergency response, patient care and infrastructure management
BHOPAL: The Shivraj Singh Chouhan government will hand over 10 trauma centres and 13 pathology centres in government-run medical colleges to private players in an effort to improve health services to the public, health minister Prabhuram Choudhary said.
Officials said the 10 trauma centres will be handed over to private firms to take charge of the emergency response, patient care and infrastructure management. The state government will pay the companies for running these trauma centres. “Soon, the MP government is going to float a tender in this regard,” a health department official said.
The state government earlier started operating dialysis and CT scan facilities in government hospitals in partnership with the private sector.
A second official of the medical education department said the state government will hand over 5,000 to 8,000 square feet of space along with equipment and machines of pathology, microbiology and virology labs of the 13 medical government colleges to private partners.
“The government will bear the expenses of the doctor, lab technician as well as their maintenance. The company will decide the rate of tests accordingly,” the official said.
According to a NITI Aayog December 2021 report, Madhya Pradesh is ranked 17th on the national health index. The National Family Health Survey-5, says MP had the highest infant mortality rate of 43 per 1000 infants born in 2020.
Health minister Prabhuram Choudhary said the situation was improving. “We have come up with very innovative ideas to improve health facilities. We are appointing doctors and even dentists at the community health centre (CHC) level. Similarly, we are appointing managers to take care of district hospitals so that doctors will concentrate on health facilities only. We will hand over trauma and pathology centres to private players for the improvement of services.”
This is not the first time that the government is trying to involve the private sector.
In 2015, the state government started the process to hand over 27 district hospitals to private players. They handed over the Alirajpur district hospital and one CHC to a private partner but after objections, it was taken back. In 2012 too, a similar attempt was cancelled after objections from health experts and other stakeholders.
Jan Swasthya Abhiyan (JSA), a non profit working in the field of health, said handing over pathology and trauma centres will not improve public health facilities but lead to deterioration.
“This whole structure and arrangement will directly benefit the private company and this type of contract will only harm the public. According to the information, it is possible the test rates will go up by 200% to 700%. Along with this, the government is also talking about increasing the participation of private health service providers in public health institutions in the second and third-tier cities of the state,” said JSA convenor Amulya Nidhi.
Another health expert SR Azad said: “They failed to improve public health services so now have decided to hand over the health services to private companies. We have seen during Covid 19 second wave that people died without treatment due to poor health facilities. Even at that time, the government showed dependency on private hospitals.”
The Congress called it a sale of public health services. “The BJP-led state government is selling everything and now they have started selling hospitals services. Common people will suffer. We won’t allow this and will come up with the Right to Health Bill to ensure proper health services to the poor free of cost,” said former minister and Congress legislator Vijay Lakshmi Sadho.