The government is considering a proposal to set up a health quality regulator, both at the national and state levels, to keep a tab on the quality of services offered in private and government hospitals.
Setting up the regulator is part of a series of proposal formulated by the Planning Commission for the health sector in the 12th Five-Year Plan (2012-13 to 2016-17). The proposals are being discussed with health ministry officials and other stakeholders to get their views.
“We have seen many times that health officials are engaged in administrative work in big hospitals, which is a gross waste of health expertise, and also, the quality of service is not up to the mark. To correct all these, we are looking at a health regulator for hospitals both at the central and state levels,” Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia told reporters.
|IN GOOD HEALTH|
The Commission will revisit the draft health chapter of the 12th Plan after experts raised concerns over some of its proposals and the miserly allocation of 1.58 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) for the sector against the health ministry's demand for 2.5 per cent.
Ahluwalia said it might not be possible to allocate 2.5 per cent of GDP for health because of financial constraints. But, by adding drinking water, sanitation and nutrition to health, the total allocation as a percentage of GDP will be good in the 12th Plan.
The impression that the Commission wants to bring down public spending in the health sector in the 12th Plan is wrong and instead health will be the top-most priority of the government in the next five years, he added.
Almost 100 district hospitals across the country could also be upgraded into medical colleges in the next five year to meet the acute shortage of well-trained doctors and medical staff.
“We will devise a scheme under which states would have the facility to upgrade their district hospitals into medical colleges so that by the end of the plan period we have adequate number of qualified doctors in the country,” Ahluwalia said.
A provision to provide free generic medicines is also under consideration for the 12th Plan period.
The medicines would be purchased by a centralised agency and distributed free to the patients. Thursday, Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers Srikant Jena, too, said the scheme was being formulated to provide affordable health care to the people by reducing out of pocket expenses of medicines.
"The initiative is based on the Tamil Nadu model where free medicines procured in bulk by the Tamil Nadu Medical Services Corp (TNMSC), in generic name, directly from the manufacturers is supplied through an IT enabled supply chain management system to the public," Jena had said.