ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Business of Hospitals

Serious ethical implications emerge when private hospitals are run as corporate entities and doctors working in these hospitals are given targets to bring in a certain number of patients for hospitalisation and conduct a certain number of surgeries and diagnostic tests to plump up the bottom line. In a quest for profits, corporate hospitals seem to forget that their primary job is to provide appropriate and timely treatment to patients.

Healthcare is one sector which touches the life of every citizen in the country. But the government has not paid adequate attention to this sector. This gets reflected in the public expenditure on healthcare. As can be seen in Table 1, India has the lowest public expenditure on healthcare—amounting to 1.34% of the gross domestic product (GDP)—among the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). Though the public health expenditure of India has increased from 1.04% in 2010 to 1.34% in 2012, it is still low when compared to other developing countries. The space left vacant by the government in the healthcare sector has been filled by the private sector whose expenditure in the health sector was 2.71% of the GDP in 2012.

The dominance of the private sector gets reflected in the share of inpatient and outpatient cases handled by it. Its share in hospitalisation cases increased from 40% in 1986 to 62% in 2004 for the urban region and 40% to 58% for rural region (Lefebvre 2010).

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