Parliament proceedings | Won’t compromise on patients’ interests while privatising district hospitals, says Health Minister Harsh Vardhan

Minister elaborates on PPP model

Published - February 04, 2020 10:51 pm IST - New Delhi

Harsh Vardhan. File photo: PTI

Harsh Vardhan. File photo: PTI

The government will not compromise on the interest of patients while handing over district government hospitals to private medical colleges through public-private partnership (PPP) mode, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.

Such experiments have proven to be successes in the last 25 years and even government think-tank Niti Aayog has taken note of the proposal and come out with draft guidelines, he said during Question Hour.

The Minister asserted that the step is permitted under Sector 2(5) of the Medical Council of India (MCI) Act 1999 and made it clear that was not being done to promote the private sector.

Responding to a supplementary query, the Health Minister said: “We will offer district hospitals to the private sector without compromising on the interest of patients.”

The Niti Aayog has come out with draft norms to link existing private medial colleges with district hospitals through viability gap funding, as announced in the Budget 2020-21 for aspirational districts, he added.

The Minister also disagreed with a CPI member’s view that the entry of the private sector into medical education was eroding the quality of education.

“Some of the best medical colleges in the country are of international repute and providing better services,” he added.

The government said the Clause 2(5) of the MCI’s Establishment of Medical College Regulations, 1999, prescribes that the appropriate government may allow utilisation of facilities of a hospital owned and managed by it for establishing a medical college by a person/agency /trust/society/company by entering into a Memorandum of Understanding for this purpose.

The Minister said that the hospital to be linked would be of minimum 300 beds with necessary infrastructural facilities capable of being developed into teaching institution for the proposed medical college.

Responding to a separate query on dialysis for poor patients, the Health Minister said dialysis services are provided at district hospitals for management of chronic kidney diseases under the Pradhan Mantri National Dialysis Programme (PMNDP).

Dialysis services under PMNDP are provided free of cost to Below Poverty Line (BPL) patients. In Andhra Pradesh, the programme has been implemented in all 13 districts with 35 centres, he said.

As per Central government norms, there is no provision of pension for BPL dialysis patients. However, the Andhra Pradesh government has said that it is paying a monthly pension of ₹10,000 to BPL dialysis patients, he added.

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