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Seven govt hospitals to be upgraded

The National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) has got a higher allocation of Rs 20,822 crore in the 2012-13 budget presented on Friday, compared to Rs 18,115 crore the previous year.

Under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY), seven government hospitals will be upgraded along the lines of AIIMS, making tertiary healthcare affordable. A cut in the prices of cancer and HIV drugs was also announced.

The National Urban Health Mission will be launched in 2012 to encompass the primary healthcare needs of people in urban areas.

Reacting to the budget, Dr N K Venkataramana, vice-chairman of BGS Global Hospitals, said making cancer drugs cheaper was a unique initiative that would help the poor.

“We hope the government will be able to utilise the National Rural and Urban Health Mission across the country and effectively implement schemes to elevate the health standards of the people,” he said.

“It is laudable that the preventive health concept is initiated through the health budget. Upgrading medical colleges on a par with AIIMS will see a major improvement in the quality of health, education and training,” he added.

However, Rajen Padukone, CEO, Manipal Hospitals, commenting on the service tax on hospitals, said, “We expected hospitals would feature in the negative list, as this is one of the services which is not opted out of choice. To that extent, there is disappointment.
We are waiting for the fine print on the status of hospitals in the exemption list.

If corporate hospitals are not exempted, it is a concern area for everyone. The hospital bill goes up by 12.36 per cent and even if the same abatement (50 per cent) is extended like the proposal last time, the increase will be 6.18 per cent, which could be a definite extra burden for patients,” he added.

Concession on preventive healthcare is a good move to encourage people to go for preventive checks.

Customs duty exemption on certain life-saving drugs for HIV, renal cancer, etc, is also a good initiative.

However, the Prime Minister’s promise to increase expenditure on public health to reach 2.5 per cent of the GDP in the next five years is not reflected in the budget.

To reach that figure, expenditure should more than double in five years. Whereas, the budget provides only a 15 per cent increase, he said.


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Posted by on Mar 16 2012. Filed under South India. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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