The allocation for healthcare in the budget touched Rs 4,151 crore in 2019-20, a 15 percent increase compared to the previous year. Most of the allocation will be spent on infrastructure upgrade and decongestion of major hospitals. The healthcare allocation was around 13 percent of the overall budget. Among the initiatives that will bring immediate relief to patients is the ‘aapli chikitsa’ diagnostic service that is likely to take off shortly. Here, patients can avail of 101 basic and 38 advanced tests at maternity and peripheral dispensaries, which would save them the inconvenience of coming to crowded tertiary hospitals such as KEM, Sion and Nair. After multiple setbacks, the civic body has finally zeroed in on Metropolis and Thyrocare to provide the services. An amount of Rs 16.38 crore has been allocated for aapli chikitsa. Additional municipal commissioner IA Kundan said aapli chikitsa will cut down the crowd at major hospitals by 30-35 percent.
“Our analysis shows that 1000 patients on an average are referred from maternity homes to tertiary hospitals every day. From peripheral hospitals, the daily referrals are sometimes as high as 17,000. From every single dispensary, there are a minimum of 10 referrals every day,” said Kundan. “The patients will get their reports on SMS and emails,” she said. Infrastructure upgrade at 17 peripheral hospitals, five maternity homes and 174 dispensaries received impetus in the budget. An amount of Rs 115 crore has been earmarked for upgradation of MT Agarwal Hospital in Mulund, Shatabdi Hospital in Govandi and Bhagwati Hospital. Kundan said work at these hospitals is likely to start this month. “We are looking at a timeline of three years. When fully functional once again, these hospitals will add 732 beds to the peripheral areas,” she said. Kundan claimed that the BMC is in the final stages of making all 171 ICU beds fully operational in the peripheral hospitals, which so far had remained underutilized for want of skilled manpower. Outsourcing of 130 ICU has led to this better utilization. To optimally utilise the 1000-odd beds in maternity hospitals, an amount of Rs 5 crore has been allocated to empanel pediatricians and neonatologists. The BMC has also proposed to spend Rs 230 crore to upgrade major hospitals such as KEM, Sion and Nair. An estimated Rs 155 crore is for machinery for major hospitals. – TOI