Delhi’s move to ease government hospital burden

The Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi has collaborated with 41 private hospitals in the city to facilitate 30 types of surgeries free of cost for patients referred from government hospitals. The scheme covers complete treatment including pre-surgery consultation, surgery, medicines, food and hospital stay, and follow-ups for a month after discharge.

The surgeries include laproscopic gall bladder removal, thyroid surgery, appendectomy, fistula surgery, removal of breast cancer lumps, and cataract removals.

The government plans to reimuburse the hospitals, which are certified by the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and by Healthcare Providers, at rates of the Central Government Health Scheme.

The move is aimed at easing the backlog at government hospitals. In December 2016, the Delhi government had tied up with eight private laboratories to facilitate free MRIs and CT scans.

More medical seats

The health minister has announced 4,000 more postgraduate medical seats in India, The Hindu reported. In a press release, the ministry said “an all-time record number of over 4,000 PG medical seats have been approved by the Government of India in various medical colleges and hospitals for the academic session 2017-18, taking the total number of PG seats available to 35,117”.

The move would help the government quickly achieve the goal stated in this year’s budget of adding 5,000 postgraduate medical seats, said Health Minister JP Nadda.

Citing a need for more seats in clinical subjects, Nadda said that more than 2,000 of these seats were added by relaxing the teacher-student ratio requirement in clinical subjects in government medical colleges. This alone has created 1,137 more seats in 71 colleges. The increase in postgraduate medical seats includes seats in dental courses.

More drugs to price regulated

The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority, which regulates the prices of drugs and medical devices, will move to bring more medicines under price when it meets on March 9, news agencies reported. The regulator has been revising and capping the prices of drugs and since April 2016 has places more 620 drugs under price control.

The NPPA had only recently announced the big measure of capping cardiac stent prices bringing the prices down by 80% and providing significant relief to patients. The authority will meet stent manufacturers again on March 7 to review stent stocks and for the next six months.

The NPPA regulates 680 formulations of essential medicines according to the Drug Price Control Order notified that came in to effect in May 2014. Prices of these medicines are decided based on the average of rates of all medicines in a particular therapeutic segment with sales of more than one per cent of the market. Manufacturers are allowed to increase the maximum retail price of medicines that are not under price control by 10% annually.