Budget 2024: IMA seeks investment in public sector hospitals

Ahead of the Budget 2024, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has expected investment in public sector hospitals, the ANI reported.

According to Dr. RV Asokan, President of the Indian Medical Association, investment in health has stalled, and hospitals in the government sector, as well as their human resources, need to be enhanced.

Speaking to the ANI ahead of the interim budget, Dr RV Asokan said that investment in the health space has stagnated even as disease burdens have risen.

“Our health investment has stagnated at 1.1 per cent of the GDP for many years. This underfunding is a reason for poor infrastructure and lack of human resources. So we feel without including the budget of drinking water sanitation, which we call health determinants, the core health budget should be at least 2.5 per cent,” he told ANI in a video interview.

“We would want that the public sector (hospitals) be strengthened and human resources increase,” he said.

Further, noting that the flagship Ayushman Bharat scheme was a very important initiative of the central government, Asokan, however, feels it needs restructuring so that the private hospitals can also benefit.

“Two-third of the funding for Ayushman Bharat goes to government hospitals. I think that`s not a great idea because the people are not feeling the relief. Because already it is free. So, it is another way of funding the government hospitals, rather through insurance companies, where they take a share of service provision for 10 to 15 per cent, which is a poor way of funding our government hospitals,” Asokan said, according to the ANI.

“We feel the Ayushman Bharat should be restructured for strategic purchases from the private sector and the government has its own channels to fund public sector hospitals through direct sources,” President of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) said, as per the ANI.

Speaking about the ad hoc appointments of doctors, he said such appointments lack sense of belongingness.

“The very concern in government sector is there has been ad-hoc appointment of doctors across the country for eight to nine months, so they don`t have a sense of belonging. It has to be through regular Public Service Commission`s on a permanent basis with all those accompanying benefits then only the government sector could be run properly,” he asserted while talking to the ANI.

The Budget session which is also the last session before the general elections expected in April-May, will begin on January 31 and is likely to continue till February 9.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present the interim budget on February 1.

The session will begin with President Droupadi Murmu`s address to the joint sitting of the two Houses of Parliament

(with ANI inputs)

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