Rural Healthcare In Punjab To Become A ‘Private’ Affair: Congress Government Invites Takeover Of InfrastructurePunjab Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh (Photo by Bharat Bhushan/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

The Congress government in Punjab led by Captain Amarinder Singh is all set to hand over hundreds of government healthcare institutions in rural areas to private players, reports The Tribune.

The Punjab Health Department, through a public notification, has invited expressions of interest from private doctors and hospitals to run rural primary health centres, community health centres and urban community health centres.

“The department is looking for private parties to run some of these health institutions in public-private partnership (PPP),” The Tribune quoted the notification as saying.

Apart from buildings, the government will hand over furniture and equipment to private parties. “The selected parties would be required to deploy the requisite staff, run and maintain the institutions for a fixed tenure. The government will fix charges for various services, which can be recovered from patients.”

The government has also assured that it will meet any revenue deficit by way of an annual grant. Individuals as well as groups of doctors who already run private health institutions, are eligible for bidding.

“Public-private partnership (PPP) means the government will wash its hands of rural healthcare, allowing big corporate chains to use these centres as patient recruitment agencies. We won’t let this happen,” Dr Gagandeep Singh, president of the Punjab Civil Medical Services Association was quoted as saying by The Tribune.

"The government has failed to provide Emergency services and specialities in rural centres, which cater to a population of 1.73 crore. Now, it wants to deprive them of healthcare infrastructure too,” said public health activist and a former Registrar of Baba Farid University of Health Sciences Dr Pyare Lal Garg.

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