Sustainable pricing model could’ve saved more lives: Parliamentary panel on Covid-19 deaths

A parliamentary panel on Saturday said that many deaths due to Covid-19 may have occurred due to a lack of a sustainable pricing model. The panel also highlighted that lack of specific guidelines in treating Covid-19 patients and inadequate amount of hospital beds led to private hospitals charging high fees.

The report titled ‘Outbreak of Pandemic Covid-19 and its Management’ was submitted to Vice President and Rajya Sabha chairman Venkaiah Naidu by Samajwadi Party leader and Rajya Sabha MP Ram Gopal Yadav.

The report outlined, “Cost of health service delivery increased due to absence of specific guidelines for COVID treatment in private hospitals as a result of which patients were charged exorbitant fees.”

The panel, according to PTI, also pointed out that the amount of money spent to allow government-run healthcare facilities are ‘abysmally low’. It said that the ‘fragile structure’ of the Indian healthcare system led to such a response against the Covid-19 pandemic.

The report advised, “The committee, therefore, strongly recommends the government to increase its investments in the public healthcare system and make consistent efforts to achieve the National Health Policy targets of expenditure up to 2.5 percent of GDP within two years as the set time frame of year 2025 is far away and the public health cannot be jeopardised till that time schedule.”

The panel also highlighted that the government hospitals were ill-equipped to cater to non-Covid-19 patients as well while struggling to treat increasing numbers of Covid-19 patients.

While highlighting that the sustainable pricing model could have helped save many lives the committee also noted that private-public partnership in the healthcare sector could be beneficial for the general public.

The report praised all doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals for their dedication during the initial months of the pandemic. It also thanked other frontline workers for their service and proposed that doctors who died during the outbreak on the line of duty be acknowledged as martyrs.

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