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Govt plans to promote medical infra through ‘Heal in India’ initiative

The Union government is looking to promote India’s medical facilities and infrastructure under a new ‘heal in India’ campaign, with plans to standardise processes and treatment packages for foreign nationals.

The initiative is meant to reframe the industry to steer away from the connotations that come with the tag medical tourism, officials said.

“When talking about medical treatment, tourism somehow does not sound right, which is why there have been discussions around branding the process as ‘heal in India’ wherein we provide health care delivery services to patients coming from outside India in a far streamlined manner,” said an official in the government aware of the matter, on condition of anonymity.

The steps could also include checks on pricing. “The objective behind standardisation of packages is to ensure patients coming on medical visa for treatment are not overcharged. As things happen right now, different hospitals quote different rates or monetary packages for almost similar procedures or treatment, which is not fair to the patient. The idea is to standardise it so that variation is not huge,” said the official cited above.

The government also plans to have a certified grievance redressal mechanism for international patients.

“There need to be a system in place where these patients can register their complaints as the country is new for most of them and they would not know where to go if they faced any issues during their stay,” said the official.

India is one of the sought-after destinations among international patients primarily because a significant number of doctors are trained in developed countries; English language fluency; state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment etc.

Among treatments, patients from abroad come for cancer treatment, organ transplant surgeries, plastic surgery etc.

The government also plans a parallel campaign named ‘heal by India’, which will look at providing manpower from India in the health care sector based on requirements in other countries.

“Heal by India initiative is meant to generate job opportunities abroad for our trained professionals in the sector, especially those in the allied health care sector that has huge demand outside India. There are about 56 professional allied health care segments that includes x-ray operator, other technicians, physiotherapist etc, for which there is huge demand,” said the official cited above.

“The idea is to provide trained human resource to heal the world based on their requirement. There is huge demand for psychiatrists/psychologists in a country like the USA. Japan needs nurses from us, and two colleges have been identified in the northeast where Japanese language instructors are teaching nurses the language so that they don’t face language barrier there,” added the official.

According to people familiar with the matter, India is likely to open offices in different countries to facilitate the process under skill development mission. The framework is being drafted under the supervision of a Niti Aayog member.

The development was a result of deliberations at the two-day chintan shivir that the Union ministry of health and family welfare organized with various stakeholders earlier this month. Hitimes

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