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A National Health Crisis Calls for More Scrutiny of Private Hospitals, Not Less

9 25 25

India has the largest number of poor in the world, and also one of the world’s most privatised healthcare systems. The country’s state and central governments together spend no more than 1.15% of GDP on healthcare, much lower than low-income countries (forget OECD countries that spend 6% at least).

During a pandemic like COVID-19, one would have thought the central government would begin to implement its own National Health Policy commitment to raise public health expenditure to 2.5% of GDP by 2022 (instead of 2025, as the NHP promised). However, far from it, even the stimulus package has nothing for public health (except Rs 15,000 crore for PPEs, testing, etc).

This begs the question: if governments are so dependent upon the private sector, does it have any recourse when practices turn unethical or greed takes an unhealthy hold? Sadly, in most of India, neither the centre nor states (and hence citizens) have any recourse against such greed – out of choice or under private pressure, it seems.

Healthcare is under the State List in the Constitution, and only 11 of India’s states and all UTs (except Delhi) have enacted The Clinical Establishments (Registration & Regulation) Act, 2010 (henceforth CEA, 2010).

As per the Clinical Establishments (Central Government) Rules 2012, under the abovementioned Act,

What is the result for patients when there is no CEA in a state? Let us give a concrete example from our lives in October........

© The Wire

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