Neeraj Lal
Vice President and Cluster Head, Bangalore and Karnataka Region,
Rainbow Children’s Hospital

Public Private Partnership Key For Sustainable Healthcare Delivery System In The Country

India’s healthcare market may see a threefold jump in value terms to reach USD 372 billion by 2022. The healthcare industry in India stood as the fourth largest employer in 2017. Key components of the healthcare market in India are hospitals (government and private), pharmaceuticals, diagnostics (imaging and pathology), medical equipment and supplies, medical insurance, and telemedicine. The healthcare market in India is always looking to be at par with the global market. A great example for this is the government initiative known as Ayushmaan Bharat. Within 3 months of the launch of this initiative, about 3.5 lakh people have benefitted from this. On the other hand, as a result of such government schemes, hospital margins have reduced. This has in turn affected many healthcare players, who find it difficult to sustain for a long time.

On budgetary allocation in healthcare

Government’s ambitious National Health Policy 2017 may remain a promise if the budget allocation for health sector during the year is any indication. The NHP aims to double the government spend – from the existing 1.15 percent of the GDP to 2.5 percent by 2025. In case the Indian budgetary allocation in healthcare is compared with that of countries like Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, the current allocation is less than 2 percent of the total GDP. If India, as a country has to grow, then the budgetary allocation has to be at least more than 3 percent. The backbone of a country is its people. Hence, only if the health of the people is ensured, can our country scale new heights and reach its true potential.

On planned budgetary allocation for the fiscal year 2019-20

Our hospital is in the process of finalizing the budget for the fiscal year 2019-20. Since our organization is in a continuously growing state and high quality patient care is our primary concern, state-of-the-art medical equipment is a huge priority. We are coming up with one more hospital in Vizag.

On monitoring the quality of private healthcare

Although there are more than 20 international healthcare brands in India, due to business margins, numerous mergers and acquisitions are seen in the current medical scenario. Additionally, there has been a lot of private equity investment in the medical industry. But due to the business oriented management of hospitals, quality has unfortunately taken the backseat. The government has taken initiative through QCI and NABH, which were set up to measure quality indicators state-wise and nation-wise to ensure continuous quality improvement in terms of patient care. Unfortunately, there is no national database or state-wise benchmark that can be used as a quality indicator measurement.

On importance of public private partnership in making healthcare a success

PPP is the only way forward because most government run institutions pass over lack of operational excellence. Due to this, the quality of delivery of care is hampered. Most of the government institutions have excellent doctors, paramedics, and top quality medical equipment but in spite of all this, the lack of managerial bandwidth brings down the efficiency. Through PPP, if major healthcare players participate in hospital management, all the government run medical institutions would benefit greatly and there would be healthy communities across India.

On areas where government should invest to make healthcare available to everyone

Government of India should invest in building high quality medical infrastructure in Tier-II and Tier-III cities. It is a fact that real healthcare lies in Tier-II and Tier-III cities, and there are no good private corporate hospitals in these areas. People from all strata of society must have equal access to good quality healthcare services. This will be made possible only with better investment in Tier-II and Tier-III cities.

On expansion plans

Rainbow believes that children require children’s hospitals. After having presence in Hyderabad, Vishakhapatnam, Bangalore, Delhi, and Chennai, Rainbow Hospital is coming up in Vizag in the coming financial year.

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