Hospital chains plan aggressive hiring

Swetha Kannan Anjali Prayag Chennai/Bangalore | Updated on November 12, 2017

Hospital chains, which are on an expansion drive, have drawn up aggressive hiring plans to meet the needs of upcoming centres. But attracting and retaining talent will be a challenge, especially in tier 2 and tier 3 towns, caution analysts.

Fortis Hospital, which has a headcount of 1,000, will hire 2,500-3,000 people for the 1,000 beds it will add this year. This will span doctors, nurses and staff for front-end, housekeeping, finance and marketing and food and beverages. Day-care specialty centre Vasan Healthcare, which employs around 7,000 people, will hire around 1,000 people by December.

Apollo Hospitals too has an “aggressive” hiring plan to meet expansion plans, says Mr Jacob Jacob, Chief People Officer. Apollo is looking to add 2,400 beds by 2014; manpower requirement for this will be in the ratio of 4-5 a bed. “We will hire from A and B class medical colleges in the country, apart from absorbing management students from institutes such as XLRI, ISB and IIM.”

Bangalore-based Columbia Asia Hospitals, which plans to enter tier 2 cities, will add five hospitals to its existing count of seven. This will take its employee count to 5,000 from 2,300 currently by 2012-13.

VCs are also hiring healthcare professionals as many of look to acquire small and medium hospital chains. “They need healthcare experts even before the acquisition process starts,” says Mr N. Srinivas, Partner, Leadership Practice, Maxima Executive Global Executive Search.

But the ground reality is there is shortage of manpower. “With both Fortis and Apollo focussing on growth in tier 2 and tier 3 cities, the ability to attract and retain talent will be one of the challenges,” says Dr Rana Mehta, Executive Director, Healthcare Advisory, PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Willingness among doctors to work in tier 3 cities could be a challenge, admits Mr Jacob of Apollo.

“We are feeling the pressure of shortage - especially those with the requisite skill-sets in all verticals be it technical or soft skills,” says Dr Llyod Nazareth, COO, Fortis, which spends 2 per cent of its overall budget on training.

The attrition rate among nurses and resident doctors is around 25 per cent. There is also a crunch for front-end staff with competition from industries such as some hospitality and telecom, says Ms Ms Sangeeta Lala, Co-founder and VP, TeamLease Services.

Currently, the Indian population has half a doctor for every thousand people and about one nurse per thousand. But the need is double that. It is estimated that for every bed commissioned, five direct and 25 indirect jobs are created. But even with aggressive hiring by major hospital chains, there is still a long way to go. Over the next 10 years, India needs half a million doctors and 1 million nurses.

“For this, 500-600 medical colleges have to be established. The Government must also encourage foreign investment in medical education,” says Dr Nazareth.

Published on September 03, 2011

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