Docs disappointed with Budget allocation in healthcare sector

Sakal Times
Thursday, 1 February 2018

Pune: With the Budget 2018-19 allocation primarily focusing on public health services, the medical fraternity and healthcare providers expressed unhappiness about the overall allocations.

Speaking to Sakal Times, Dr Amita Phadnis, Director of city-based ONP Hospitals said it is good to see some big announcements in public healthcare sector, especially for people from economically weaker section of society. 

Pune: With the Budget 2018-19 allocation primarily focusing on public health services, the medical fraternity and healthcare providers expressed unhappiness about the overall allocations.

Speaking to Sakal Times, Dr Amita Phadnis, Director of city-based ONP Hospitals said it is good to see some big announcements in public healthcare sector, especially for people from economically weaker section of society. 

“We were expecting some announcements that could have helped the private healthcare sector to make medical care affordable to common people. However, nothing of such sort came in the budget,” said Dr Phadnis.

Insurance cover
George Eapen, CEO and Director, Jehangir Hospital said medical cover of Rs 5 lakh per family will be put under Rajiv Gandhi Jeevandai Yojana or similar scheme. This may not be cost-effective for super specialty hospitals due to high costs and overhead expenses. However, smaller hospitals will be benefited and rural population will be happy.

“However, there is lack of tax benefit for equipment. Also, there is no looking at healthcare trends and hence the mention of cancer care or reduction of expensive chemo medicines and cancer care,” said E apen. 

Health centres
Highlighting that the 1.5 lakh health centres are a good initiative if the government can get good doctors there, Dr Dasmit Singh, Pediatric Surgeon from Jehangir Hospital said the public health plan with primary health centres and sub-centres should focus on the implementation.

“But due to lack of adequate facilities, the plans do not work. Doctors have to be given incentives to go to the peripheries and serve people. Just a regular government salary isn’t enough,” said Dr Singh. 

Bomi Bhote, CEO, Ruby Hall Clinic said, “Hospitals in the private sector serve up to 70 per cent of the urban and suburban population, however, no concrete economic and fiscal measures were present in the budget focusing solely on private hospitals and the doctors.”

Amol Naikawadi, JMD, Indus Health Plus said the budget should have given preference to health screening so that a culture of prevention could have been created.

“Even if a small budget was allocated to preventive health check-ups, the non-communicable diseases would receive cure at the initial stage and the treatment cost would lessen,” said Naikawadi.

Two schemes
 A new flagship scheme, National Health Protection Scheme, which will provide health insurance cover of Rs 5 lakh a family per annum. This scheme shall cover 10 crore vulnerable families and 50 crore beneficiaries.
 For the creation of 1.5 lakh health and wellness centres Rs 1,200 crore were allocated. These centres will provide free and essential drugs and diagnostic services.

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