PUNE: Rather than focusing on strengthening and building the public health infrastructure, the Union Budget 2020 hands over its responsibility to the Public-Private Partnership (PPP).
Sitharaman on Saturday proposed attachment of a medical college with existing district hospitals in PPP mode to address shortage of qualified doctors.
Commenting on this, Dr Arun Gadre, a public health expert and member of Alliance of Doctors for Ethical Healthcare (ADEH) said that under the PPP model not all medical education seats will be given to students under government fee norms.
He said ADEH is opposing this step. “We already have a private healthcare organisation where there are no regulations which have made healthcare in the private sector expensive for the common man,” said Dr Gadre.
Dr Abhijeet More, a public health expert from Pune said though the Budget speaks about starting a medical college with every district hospital, it does not mention strengthening the district hospitals in any way.
“The Budget did not focus on any allocation to strengthen the infrastructure the public healthcare system has. If there is no upgradation of district hospitals, the government hospitals will continue to suffer because of the increasing inflow of patients who cannot afford a private hospital. Moreover, in states like Maharashtra, the doctor-to-patient ratio is as per the World Health Organization (WHO) norms. However, in other states the situation is different. In the state which needs more doctors, the government can go ahead with this plan. However, PPP is just going to make medical education and healthcare more unaffordable,” he said.