Special Correspondent

Government urged to frame common building rules for healthcare facilities

‘Give soft credit at lower rate of interest’

This will support small hospitals

COIMBATORE: The Confederation of Indian Industry, Coimbatore Zone, has sought a tax holiday for five years for new hospitals.

It should begin after a gestation period of three years (from the start of the project to completion), the CII said. The suggestion was made at the Tamil Nadu Health Forum, an interactive session, held here recently.

The meeting called upon the government to frame common building rules for healthcare facilities. They should also be given soft credit at a lower rate of interest than the general credit. This, it said, would provide enough support to small hospitals that were the first point of contact for patients, especially in Tier-II and Tier-III cities.

The CII hailed the government’s projects for immunisation against polio, and checking the spread of HIV/AIDS. But, it felt the persistence of old infectious diseases, re-emergence of a few such as tuberculosis, and lifestyle diseases such as diabetes needed to be tackled.

The meeting demanded that the capacity of healthcare centres be increased by raising the floor space index from 1:5, putting 65 per cent of the land in hospitals to use, and reducing electricity tariff to rates less than that fixed for the industry. These measures, it said, would help to cut the cost of medical care and enable private hospitals to serve many segments of society.

Advocating new approaches to healthcare planning, the CII felt that more non-conventional paramedical staff could be trained through vocational courses in hospitals, nursing homes and laboratories. Local universities could approve these courses. A national accreditation body might certify them to ensure uniform syllabus and assessment methods.

Public-private sector partnerships, re-certification of doctors, use of information technology, health insurance awareness and innovative approaches to promoting community healthcare were the other measures suggested by the forum to make healthcare inclusive.

It identified dearth of healthcare workers, insufficient capacity in healthcare facilities and inadequate reach of insurance as the primary problems.

A report on the recommendations of the forum was submitted to Union Minister for Health Anbumani Ramadoss.