Experts from the medical fraternity are looking forward to the new government to adopt a systematic approach while drafting its health policy in order to bring in a transformation in the healthcare delivery in the country. Top think tanks from the healthcare and medical profession have submitted a white paper to the health ministry highlighting the pro active measures that needed to be taken up by the government to bring about radical changes in all aspects of healthcare delivery.
Experts point out that there is an urgent need to concentrate on developing fundamental part of the healthcare delivery system, right from the grass roots level, due to the huge lacunae prevalent now. Many strongly feel that the health care in India is highly fragmented to suit the needs and convenience of the rich rather than the poor.
According to professor Gautam Sen, ex first board of governors MCI who co-authored the white paper along with other experts, poor health outcomes in the country have been due to ineffective government intervention, manpower issues, different systems of medicine, uneven distribution and skewed mix of healthcare professionals among many other issues. The government had even failed to tackle the public health issues by not concentrating on public expectations or changing epidemiology, while ignoring health expenditure.
He stressed, “In spite of India being famous as a favourite medical tourism destination and being home to many multi specialty hospitals, we fair very poorly when it comes to addressing the needs of the general population. This is because, we do not have a hierarchical approach to health care needs, wherein primary care, which focuses on preventive healthcare is always ignored or given least importance in the great schemes of things, compared to secondary or tertiary care. Our representation basically charts out on these points which calls upon the need to ‘change the mind set’ to grapple our current issues. The government needs to understand that the times have changed so should the approach.”
Sen who is also the president of Health Care International and Association For Trauma Care of India further added that they have recommended to the government to to urgently bring in reforms in regulatory bodies, with radical reforms in accreditation process of educational and training institutions to ensure quality parameters. He insisted that the reforms in medical education should be done on need based curriculum, continuing professional education, continuing professional development, revalidation etc.
Experts feel that special focus should also be given on new healthcare workforce training that will focus on training of primary care physician (specialty grade), re-training Ayush doctors with assimilation in main stream, training of nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, development of paramedic cadre, up-gradation of skills of existing healthcare workforce etc.
Among the other suggestions enlisted in the white paper, focus is given on healthcare workforce planning so as to bring all together through a systematic approach, promote evidence-based policy formulation and public health intervention wherein states should be at the centre of the new strategic approach to health system reform.