Battling a massive patient load and shortfall in the number of hospital beds and medical personnel, Delhi’s health sector is already crumbling under pressure. With the latest UN report stating that Delhi has become the world’s second most populous city in 2014 after Tokyo, more than doubling its population since 1990 to 25 million, health officials insisted on Friday that the signs are ominous.
“As it is, there is little to cheer about. Delhi has tremendous healthcare responsibilities. The department is catering to the ever-growing metropolis and also has to share the burden of migratory as well as floating population from neighbouring States, which constitute nearly 33 per cent of the total intake at major hospitals here,” said a Health Department official.
Adding that participation by the private sector is yet to be experimented with at the requisite level, the official added: “The efforts made so far by the government is yet to make an impact on the health infrastructure of the city.”
The Delhi Government’s own reports admit that “in spite of massive increase in plan outlay for health sector and expansion of primary, secondary and tertiary-level health infrastructure here, the bed population ratio at present is far below the norm of five beds per 1,000 as prescribed by the WHO and the Delhi Master Plan 2021”.
Officials said with the expansion of healthcare institutions, the need for trained para-medical manpower has increased manifold and so has the need for geriatric care.
Besides this, Delhi’s “out of pocket spending” for healthcare remains high.
“The average amount spent on treatment during each hospitalisation case was found to be Rs.8,851 in an urban area and Rs.5,695 in a rural area. The average expenditure on hospitalisation treatment in Delhi was recorded as the highest in the country,” noted figures released by the Government.