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Lack of trained staff blocking expansion of healthcare in India


An article that appeared in The Times of India talks about the dismal numbers of trained medical staff in India. The article mentions some interesting facts to note as well as comments from doctors about the lack of availability of medical staff in contrast to the expansion of the healthcare sector overall.

As per World Health organization (WHO), numbers of physicians, nurses and bed capacity in the world per 1,000 people are 1.7, 3.3 and 3.7, whereas the figures for India are as low as 0.7, 1.2 and 0.6. According to a WHO study, every year 45,000 doctors and 2,00,000 nurses are added to the healthcare sector. However, India needs at least 1 million doctors and 2.3 million nurses more to take care of existing population. Due to non-availability of qualified doctors, nurses and paramedics, the expansion of health services in tier II and III cities in the country by private players in healthcare is facing a lot of hurdles. During the  Confederation of Indian Industries (CII)’s Health and Hospital Conclave 2013, doctors and medical officers from around the country stressed on the need to explore the options of procurement of equipment on lease and revenue-sharing model for expansion.

  • “Land and building can be acquired at a cheaper rate in towns but sourcing of high-cost medical equipment is an issue. This can be solved by acquiring the equipment on lease or revenue share basis,” said Sumit Sarkar, CEO, Apollo Hospitals.
  • According to an estimate, Rs 4,000 crore would be invested in the healthcare sector in the next financial year alone. Over 4,000 beds were also expected to be added in the same fiscal period. “Do we have enough nurses and other staff to sustain this level of expansion? The nurses have degree[s] but many of them are not employable as they lack basic exposure,” said Rajiv Sharma, CEO, Sterling AddLife India Ltd.

Also, every year, more than 41,000 MBBS pass out, half of which go on to pursue postgraduate studies. This results in a wider gap between demand and supply.


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