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States woo firms to run hospitals

September 01, 2008 10:46 IST

Several Indian states including Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Goa, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar are offering their hospitals to the private sector to manage. This has elicited immediate positive reactions from private sector hospital chains - among them Fortis Healthcare, Apollo Hospitals and Wockhardt Hospitals.

Goa wants its private sector partner to build and manage a super-specialty hospital on the land adjacent to the Rajiv Gandhi Medical College, Panaji. Himachal Pradesh has sought proposals from healthcare companies to run facilities at Tanda and Hamipur.

Delhi wants to hand over the new 600-bed hospital in Tahirpur and the 300-bed hospital in Janakpuri to private companies. Madhya Pradesh has already called for private participation in its mega health city project. Bihar is keen on getting the private sector involved in running nephrology and cardiology services at Central Hospital, Patna.

Several companies have evinced interest in the Delhi offer (in fact, the state government today extended the last date for purchasing applications to September 16).

Fortis is chasing five public private partnership opportunities to run government-owned super-speciality hospitals in three states. The company may soon submit bids for two projects each in Delhi and Himachal Pradesh, and one in Goa. Fortis currently runs 15 hospitals across the country.

A recent study by Ernst & Young for industry association Ficci said that to reach the aspiration of two hospital beds for every 1,000 Indians, an additional 1.75 million beds would be needed by 2025. "For this, an estimated investment of Rs 370,000 crore (Rs 3,700 billion) would be required. A major portion of this investment will have to be done by the private sector," it said.

In Karnataka, Apollo is running a super speciality hospital that was constructed by the government. In Chhattisgarh, the state government gave Escorts a grant of Rs 12 crore (Rs 120 million) to build and operate a cardiac specialty centre, subject to earmarking 15 per cent of the patients, identified by the government, who would be treated at discounted rates.

Joe C Mathew in New Delhi
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