PPP Ambulance Services: A Key Component of Healthcare

Need For Public Private Partnership

While Public Private Partnership in the Indian healthcare sector is still in its nascent stage, the country has made massive improvements in the field, in the last few years. Impressive technological innovations and advancements, complemented by favorable Government policies, have considerably helped improve the quality of life in the country. However, in spite of this, several parts of India still remain at a disadvantage, lacking affordable access to healthcare services. High operational costs, along with the lack of sufficient investment in the domain, have greatly affected the quality of healthcare services, and accessibility to it. In addition, 1 over-centralization and inefficient planning, along with inadequate and unbalanced financial outlays, little to no accountability, and, dereliction of duty, plagues the public healthcare system even today.

The private sector, on the other hand, has experienced an unprecedented growth in the last few years, by means of an influx of investments, and the free market technology-driven operational principles. However, while the private sector boasts of the highest quality of service when it comes to primary and secondary healthcare, these are usually not provided keeping affordability in mind. As a result, quality healthcare has today become monopolized only for the rich and the affluent. A solution to this can be found in a synergic partnership between the efficient and technologically advanced private healthcare sector, and the Government led public sector. The confluence of the resources of the private sector and the organisational capacities of the public sector further makes Public Private Partnership in healthcare a potential game-changer in the industry.

The 108 helpline set up by the Government and in partnership with private organisations such as Ziqitza Health Care Ltd can help stay ahead of fatal emergencies. As an example of how the initiative is making waves across the country, a woman in rural Madhya Pradesh was able to safely deliver her baby thanks to the dedicated and efficient crew manning the ambulance. In Odisha too, 108 ambulance services responded to a call about an anaemic patient who was rushed to the nearest hospital in time where a crew member stepped in to donate blood and save the man’s life.

Such cases only serve to highlight the need for Public Private Partnerships (PPP) across the country. Under this model, the infrastructure and marketing needs of the hospitals are handled by the Government, while the private establishments only need to invest in the medical professionals and equipment. As a result, not only is the level of healthcare services provided enhanced, but the costs are brought down as well. Under this model, the government requests for tenders from private establishments and enters into a partnership with the one with the lowest quote. As a result, there is a very narrow profit margin, which further forces these establishments to increase their volume of business. Expansion and enhancement takes place, leading to increased accessibility in many remote areas which were earlier facing a major challenge in terms of affordable, quality healthcare.

The lack of manpower in the public sector, along with disorganized management, outdated infrastructural capabilities, and the absence of a risk mitigation system for poorer customers, is a major challenge plaguing it today. A public private partnership in healthcare will lead to an increase in the number of premier medical institutions, and as a result, would create an influx of highly skilled medical professionals in the sector. Accountability would remain in the hands of the government, discouraging malpractices and exorbitant pricing. Not only would this help streamline operations, but it would also reduce the required time and expense for all processes, and create a premium healthcare delivery sector which is regulated by the Government. Healthcare infrastructure would also be strengthened and evenly distributed at all levels of care, geographically, unhindered by financial constraints affecting the ailing public sector.

Today, the Public Private Partnership model is an urgent necessity to breathe new life into the healthcare sector. If utilized well, the Government, through this model, could successfully standardize healthcare, while maintaining a high quality of services, in turn, raising the life expectancy and mortality rates of the country, and reducing the burden on lower-income groups.

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