Govt keen to involve private players in healthcare

Aesha Datta New Delhi | Updated on July 30, 2014 Published on July 30, 2014

Tie-ups The proposal will create opportunities for private diagnostic labs.

The huge shortfall in primary healthcare will open up market for private services

The Government is seeking private participation for the rollout of the National Assurance Mission, under which public healthcare facilities will assure certain important facilities such as x-rays.

A senior official in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said the Government would like to involve private players to fill the infrastructural gaps.

“We are completely moving to a ‘free drugs, free diagnostics’ scenario as far as primary health care is concerned,” he said, adding that this is part of the National Assurance Mission.

Further, the ₹22,507-crore National Urban Health Mission (NUHM), which was announced in 2013 to address healthcare challenges in urban centres, is also ready to start operations.

Auxiliary personnel

“Many of the States have already located facilities within urban areas and urban slums where they are going to run these services. They have also done some recruitment of auxiliary nurse midwifes, accredited social health activists (ASHAs) and others,” the official said.

The NUHM, which was launched last year, did not take off due to the delay in disbursing the allocated sum, about ₹700 crore, to the States. Over five years, the mission — which is on the lines of the National Rural Health Mission — is likely to cost the Centre over ₹22,000 crore.

While the implementation of the two schemes under the National Health Mission is under way, the Government now intends to focus on the quality of healthcare delivery under these schemes. This is also an attempt to achieve the target of Universal Health Coverage in India.

Funds for drugs, devices

The official said the Centre will allocate funds to the States to buy medical devices and drugs, wherever required, to provide assured services under the scheme. With huge shortfalls in several public primary health facilities, this is likely to create a market for a number of private players.

This will also create a separate market for private clinics and diagnostics service providers as well. The official said that, wherever possible, public healthcare clinics would tie up with local private clinics and diagnostics laboratories to benefit from their services.

Published on July 30, 2014
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