From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : India's expenditure on health
Mains level : Paper 2- India needs NHS like healthcare model
Even after the pandemic, the Indian government continues to budget less than 1 per cent of GDP for healthcare, one of the lowest in the world.
- Every year, Britain’s legendary health network National Health Service (NHS) cures 15 million patients with chronic ailments, at a fraction of the cost spent by the US.
- The NHS funded by direct taxes is also the fifth largest employer in the world, after McDonalds and Walmart.
- One of every 20 British workers is employed as a doctor, nurse, catering and technical personnel.
Public healthcare in India
- Even after the pandemic, the Indian government continues to budget less than 1 per cent of GDP for healthcare, one of the lowest in the world.
- In contrast, China invests around 3 per cent, Britain 7 per cent and the United States 17 per cent of GDP.
- So, 62 per cent of health expenses in India are paid for by patients themselves
- This is one of the main reasons for families falling into poverty especially during the pandemic.
- In India, hospitals are beleaguered with absentee staff.
- As per a Niti Aayog database, in the worst state of Bihar in 2017-18, positions for 60 per cent of midwives, 50 per cent of staff nurses, 34 per cent of medical officers and 60 per cent of specialist doctors were vacant.
- Those on the job, despite being handsomely paid, are chronically overworked.
In the 21st century, not much has improved in India’s public hospitals. Still, in India doctors are often equated with gods. What India needs in NHS like healthcare model.