NITI Aayog moot privatisation of select services in district hospitals

In News

As a part of a radical privatisation project, the Health Ministry and the NITI Aayog have developed a framework to let private hospitals run select services within district hospitals, on a 30-year lease.

Features of the proposal

  • Prepared in consultation with the World Bank, the government will be allowing a single private partner or a single consortium of private partners to bid for space in district level hospitals, especially in tier 2 & 3 cities.
  • Under this Public Private Partnership (PPP), care for only three non-communicable diseases cardiac disease, pulmonary disease, and cancer care will be provided.
  • According to the draft model contract, private hospitals will bid for 30-year leases over portions of district hospital buildings to set up 50- or 100-bed hospitals in smaller towns across the country.
  • The State governments could lease up to five or six district hospitals within the State.
  • The State governments will give Viability Gap Funding (VGF), or one-time seed money, to private players to set up infrastructure within district hospitals.
  • The private parties and State health departments will share ambulance services, blood banks, and mortuary services.

Concerns over the proposal

  • The policy document failure to consult with key stakeholders from civil society and academia.
  • The government was handing over critical public assets without gaining anything much in return.
  • NITI Aayog has no locus standi to make health policy, which is a state subject in India.
  • A major concern about the policy is that under principles of the financial structure, the document states that there will be no reserved beds or no quota of beds for free services in these facilities.

Source : The Hindu

GS II : Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources

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