Worry for government? Economic survey finds poor service in private hospitals

Express News Service
NEW DELHI:  Despite push from the government for promotion of privatisation in the health sector, the latest Economic Survey has underlined the poor quality of service in private hospitals and suggested setting up agencies to assess the quality of doctors and hospitals.

As per the report tabled in Parliament on Friday, while the share of public institutions has increased both in hospital and outpatient care, the private sector dominates in total healthcare provision in India.

Around 74 per cent of outpatient care and 65 per cent of hospitalisation care is provided through the private sector in urban India.

Citing a research study, the report highlights that a large proportion of deaths in India manifests due to poor quality of healthcare than insufficient access.

ALSO READ | Focus on growth, don’t worry about Fiscal deficit: CEA Subramanian on road ahead for Indian economy

To understand the difference in quality between the public and private sector providers, data from the Centre’s flagship Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana has also been used.

The data show that mortality rate for neonatal procedures is much higher in private hospitals than in public hospitals — 3.84 per cent and 0.61 per cent, respectively.

Also, public sector patients get readmitted to the same hospital 64 per cent of the time versus 70 per cent for private hospitals.

“So, a large proportion of deaths in India manifesting due to poor quality of healthcare is likely to reflect that the quality of treatment in the private sector may not be significantly better than that in the public sector in India,” says the report.

ALSO READ | Services sector likely to contract by 8.8 per cent in FY21 despite record 34 per cent jump in FDI inflows: Survey

The report also says the problem of asymmetric information in healthcare is reflected in the substantial variation in costs for treating the same disease between the public and private sector.

As argued above, the quality of treatment in the private sector does not seem to be markedly better when compared to the public sector.