Public and private healthcare are the two most vital pillars of our healthcare eco-system. While the private healthcare has its deep root in the urban area, it’s the public healthcare setup that holds the responsibility for the well-being of our urban and semi-urban masses. The quality of private and public healthcare is not a secret anymore. And the tyranny is most poor reside in the rural parts of India for whom Government run hospitals are the only source of hope.
Various successive governments have successfully implemented many healthcare schemes that have benefitted the masses include eradication of polio and more. But there is huge disparity between public and private healthcare which needs to lessen. There are many areas where Government needs an urgent action. The top one includes the healthcare spending.
The public sector spends approx. 1.4% of the GDP for healthcare while the contribution of private sector is about 3.3%. Marginal coverage for health insurance, huge scarcity of hospital beds and doctors, and lack of advanced medical infrastructure in rural areas are some vital aspects that Government must look into. Healthcare providers should also focus on capturing hospital data and ensure proper documentation for tracking of relevant performance metrics in terms of process, outcome, and safety.
Private sector can assist in improving this gloomy picture. Over the last three decades, private sector has been making growing contribution and supporting already heavily burdened public health institutions at every level and today it provides 58 percent of the hospitals and 81 percent of the doctors in India and has the potential to turn this grim situation of public healthcare into a much satisfying one. If the Government collaborates with private players then they can assist in expanding the bed density from 0.9 per thousand today to 2.0 per thousand by 2025 and can lead to augment the strength of hospital beds by 1.8 million.
The National Health Policy has also pledged to increase public spending to 2.5% of GDP by 2025 which is an appreciated move. Implementers of this policy must look at the problems and the solutions holistically with private sector as strategic partners.
To achieve the ultimate objective of qualitative healthcare at all levels, the government would need the support of private sector at primary to tertiary care levels. The support comes in the form of large investment, new technology, innovations and quality services. It is the responsibility of private players as well to work in tandem with the Government and do whatever they can in order to make ‘Swasth Bharat’.