Time to Revive the Plan for Indian National Health Services

Synopsis: The pandemic has broadly highlighted the inadequacy in our health care system and has brought serious consideration for the formation of the Indian national health services.

  • There has been a coordinated effort from medical staff, the Centre, the state, and other state institutions to control the Pandemic. For instance,
    • The railways are running special trains carrying oxygen supplies.
    • There is an involvement of military in medical supply chains.
    • The Karnataka government has ordered private hospitals above a certain size to reserve 75% of their beds for COVID-19 patients, who will be paid for under a public scheme
  • Despite these measures, the Indian healthcare system is struggling to control the Pandemic.
Issues in the Indian health care system
  • Inadequate public health expenditure: India spends nearly 1% of GDP.
  • Inadequate public health providers: for instance, in certain rural areas the doctor-population ratio is over 1:40,000
  • High out-of-pocket expenditure: Medical expenses constitute the major reason for personal debt in India.
  • Systemic issues: Highly fragmented, corruption, urban-centered, elite-focused.

To address the issues ailing our health care system, India needs to form Indian National Health services, in line with British National Health Service.

How the British National Health Service function?
  • Firstly, the service is funded entirely from Public money (Taxation). The budget includes a payment to general practitioners, most of whom remain private providers but are paid by the state for treating NHS patients
  • Secondly, all hospital treatment and medicines are free, as are outpatient and follow-up appointments.
  • Thirdly, the NHS is the largest employer in the U.K. and Its current budget is about 7.6% of GDP. Despite being large in scale, it provides highly localized access to care.
  • Fourthly, the formation of the British National Health Service has resulted in providing top-class universal healthcare, including training and research. However, some issues like subjective preference to patients of different social classes still exist.
  • Fifthly, in India, during 1946, the civil servant Sir Joseph Bhore proposed Indian national health services broadly modeled on the lines of the British National Health Service or NHS.
  • Lastly, he further recommended the integration of preventive and curative medicines at all levels.

Source: The Hindu


[Answered] “The ‘systematic failure’ to address the needs of patients contributes to a higher mortality.” Comment.

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