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Large Public Delhi Hospitals Far More Cost-Effective: Government

Large and busy public hospitals in Delhi are among the most cost-effective, with the average cost of treating a patient at the state government’s busiest hospitals — Lok Nayak and Guru Teg Bahadur (GTB) — being a fraction of what is spent by superspeciality centres such Delhi government’s Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS).

In 2018, the average cost of treating one patient at the 1,837-bed Lok Nayak hospital was Rs 2,234, and Rs 1,188 at the 1,512-bed GTB, reveals Delhi government’s outcome budget data.

“Rs 2,000 cost per patient is not much. If you go to the private sector, just the consultation fee can come up to Rs 5,000. And, the revenue costs of the government and the private sector are incomparable; here there are rules for everything, we have to employ a certain number of people, we cannot ask them to do anything other than what they were hired for, we need to pay them according to the scale, and we cannot stretch their shifts unlike the private hospitals. The costs are offset by the number of patients we treat,” said Dr Kishore Singh, medical director of Delhi government’s biggest, Lok Nayak Hospital.

At ILBS, which focuses in liver and kidney diseases, the average per patient treatment cost for the government was Rs 16,118, the report states. The cost to taxpayer for the treatment of the patients at Delhi’s only superspeciality public hospital, GB Pant, is Rs 3,470. The referral hospital has an absolute budget of Rs 364 crore and does complicated brain, heart and gastro-intestinal surgeries.

“The government’s policy is that of a welfare one, so we have huge budgets to ensure that all patients receive all treatment, tests and medicines and surgeries for free,” Dr Singh said.

The least cost-effective hospital is the 300-bed historical Ayurveda and Naturopathy Tibbia College in Karol Bagh, where the per patient expenditure was Rs 12,117 in 2017 and the target for 2018 was Rs 14,055. The final costs for 2018 were not submitted by the hospital, according to the government’s Outcome Budget.

“The high cost per patient is because the hospital receives fewer patients than our other allopathic and multispeciality hospitals while the overhead costs of maintaining the hospital and staffing remain,” said Dr Sanjeev Khirwar, secretary, department for health, Delhi.

With a budget of close to Rs 40 crore, Tibbia Hospital treats 1,000 patients in its out-patient department every day. Normal deliveries are done in its maternity block, C-section deliveries are referred to Kalawati Saran Hospital, which is 3.5 km away. – Hindustan Times

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