NEW DELHI: Nearly 33 per cent patients who get admitted in private hospitals in India go to nursing homes manned by just one healthcare worker while little is known about the quality of services they deliver, a report by Niti Aayog on health systems in India has said. Nearly 70 per cent of the patients who sought consultations in private hospitals also went to solo practitioners, the report, evaluating the challenges and suggesting the way forward for healthcare delivery system in the country, said.
In 2010-11, there were an estimated 1.04 million private health enterprises across India, including roughly 80,000 private hospitals and 5,75,000 private medical clinics, said the report quoting a study from 2015. In comparison, there were fewer than 2 lakh government-run healthcare facilities across all provider levels in 2016. The private sector also employs the majority — at least 80 per cent — of doctors.
Almost 64 per cent of the estimated 1.04 million private health establishments operating in 2010-11 were run by a single worker. An estimated 95 per cent of the private ambulatory care market is comprised of solo practitioners and small independent medical clinics, often run by a husband and wife pair. On the in-patient side, the typical private hospital, or nursing home, has just 20-30 beds, though an undetermined number are much smaller.
These hospitals also operate with few staff: one-third of private hospitals, for example, were reported to have only one worker in 2010-11, while just over two-thirds reported five or fewer workers. The report calls for investment in private hospitals with the support of central and state governments, mainly in tier II and tier III towns.