The Journey So Far
The National Medical Commission Bill, 2019, has been passed by both houses of Parliament, heralding a new era in medical education
The ministry of health and family welfare, through a notification, has put in the public domain the Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act, 2010, and the Clinical Establishments (Central Government) Rules, 2012, adopted by 11 states and six Union territories, to help check issues of over-billing and medical negligence
The Healthcare Service Personnel and Clinical Establishments (Prohibition of Violence and Damage to Property) Bill, 2019, has been drafted. It proposes to make acts of violence against healthcare professionals a cognisable and non-bailable offence. It also seeks to provide compensation for injuries to healthcare personnel (nurses, midwives, doctors, medical students, ambulance drivers and helpers) and for damage or loss to the properties of clinical establishments (hospitals, clinics, dispensaries, sanatoriums, ambulances and mobile units).
The budgetary allocation for the health sector this year is Rs 62,659.2 crore-up by 19 per cent from last year. This includes Rs 6,400 crore for the Centre’s flagship insurance scheme Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY) that aims to provide around 10.74 crore families annual health cover of up to Rs 5 lakh per family for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation.
In a controversial move, the ministry has created a cadre of community health providers with a limited licence to deliver preventive and primary health services at the 150,000 health and wellness centres to begin operations by 2022
The health minister has announced plans for a National Genomic Grid to study genomic data of Indian cancer patients in line with the National Cancer Tissue Biobank
Is It Enough?
In India, both healthcare and health insurance are weighed down by poor governance and weak regulations. With 86 per cent of the rural and 82 per cent of the urban population still not covered, the agenda is in dire need of reforms.
There is an acute shortage of doctors, nurses, paramedics and lab technicians in the country and, unfortunately, there is no provision in the budget to address this. There is also an urgent need for research and development in basic medical sciences and other areas to enable the growth of indigenous technology. The Unfinished Agenda
The health ministry should review the pricing of the 1,300 AB-PMJAY Bharat medical packages to remove anomalies and roll out the scheme across the country as a top priority
India needs to work towards the target of one doctor for every 1,000 citizens, as per the WHO standard, by 2022 against the current ratio of one for every 1,655 persons; and also increase the number of MBBS seats from 42,000 to 100,000.