No move to hand over rural health centres to private players in Punjab: minister

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Chandigarh, Jan 21 (IANS) With a fresh controversy over the reported move by the Punjab government to hand over rural health centres to private players, Punjab’s Health and Family Welfare Minister Brahm Mohindra said on Monday that there was no such move.

“There is no such move to hand over these institutions (primary health centres and community health centres situated in rural areas) to private parties in PPP (public-private participation) mode ,” Mohindra said in a statement here.

He said due to shortage of specialists, an advertisement was given inviting expression of interest from the private NGOs, doctors or others for providing services in the government hospitals and running of health institutions located in various areas.

“The (health) department has been getting requests from doctors, NGOs and others for giving them an opportunity to provide services in the government health institutions. The Government of India has also issued guidelines for co-locating private players for treatment of diseases in the government institutions. They can be engaged for a particular service for government hospitals,” he pointed out.

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“Inviting expression of interest is to get ideas on how the government can provide all healthcare services even in remote areas where we have dearth of doctors and paramedics. If at all it happens, by no means shall there be any extra financial burden on the patients i.e. existing government hospital rates shall be charged from them. Based on response, a pilot in 1-2 institutions will be tried,” Mohindra clarified, adding that the intent of the present government is to strengthen the public health system.

The minister appealed to the PCMS (Punjab Civil Medical Service) doctors that they should have no fear that the health services are being privatized.

–IANS

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