Thursday, March 5, 2015

Over the past few years, with the combined efforts from public and private players including the support of the government, India has undertaken significant strides in addressing the challenges of availability, accessibility and affordability of quality healthcare in super-specialty tertiary care and quaternary care in bigger cities.

I believe, health insurance has a vital role to play in overall well-being of a nation and it needs to be incentivized and made more affordable for the vast population. There is no doubt that the Union Budget 2015-16 will give a boost to the insurance sector. The hike in the health insurance premium deduction will encourage savings and promote health among individual tax payers. I am also of opinion that the health insurance should be made mandatory for the employees.

The proposal to set up AIIMS in J&K, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh and Assam is welcome news and it would definitely help strengthen the tertiary and quaternary care infrastructure in the nation. It will also help train more graduates, post graduates and high quality specialists. That said, the more pressing need is for the development of primary, secondary and preventive care, and trauma care infrastructure, so every accident patient gets the right treatment is the golden hour. India already has some of the best quaternary and tertiary care in the world, and is gradually acquiring a name for itself in the field of medical tourism.

On the other hand, the primary care infrastructure is in poor shape and primarily non-existent to the most part. It requires a strong concerted effort by government, private players and NGOs. I believe as much as 70% of the total healthcare budgets needs to be reserved for primary care.

The most critical point is that it is very important to adequately plan for the future health human resources. The government should think towards decentralizing Medical Colleges and having a common curriculum so each state can conduct its own exams. This will also help Indian Medical Council in medical ethics and practitioners registrations.

Dr. K. Ravindranath
Chairman & Managing Director
Global Hospitals Group

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