Ministry, NITI Aayog moot privatisation of select services in district hospitals

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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. The framework was prepared in consultation with the World Bank.

Proposed framework

  • 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) mode, care for only three non-communicable diseases – cardiac disease, pulmonary disease, and cancer care – will be provided.

  • 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.

  • 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.

Cause of Concerns

  • 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.

  • Only BPL patients and those in insurance schemes will be able to access free care. This would effectively exclude hundreds of millions of the Indian population from vital hospital services.

  • The policy document has also come under sharp criticism for the Ministry’s failure to consult with key stakeholders from civil society and academia.


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