Odisha to lease govt hospital space to private players

Malkangiri/Dhenkanal/Nuapada: The state government has decided to allocate space for public–private partnership (PPP) hospitals under Affordable Healthcare Project at three district headquarters hospitals.

In a letter, the Health and Family Welfare Department on Thursday directed Malkangiri Collector to allocate space for retrofitting an approximately 100- bedded PPP hospital along with existing departments at the district headquarters hospital. This apart, the government also plans to accommodate parking and other support facilities like STP, WTP, and ETP within the DHH campus.

Besides Malkangiri, the government has also decided to extend the project to two other district headquarters hospitals-Nuapada and Dhenkanal.

The letter stated that there is surplus capacity in terms of built-up space at these headquarters hospitals so a part of it can be easily leased out to private healthcare units which will simultaneously operate.

The government has decided to bid out these three projects as Brownfield options while 15 other districts would be taken up as Greenfield options, the letter stated.

Meanwhile, the decision has triggered sharp reactions among public who apprehend that the step is a move to exploit people. “Talks are doing rounds that half of the 300-bedded hospital will be leased out to a private agency. It is very shocking to understand how the government would run both a private and a public hospital under one roof,” Dinesh Patnaik, a Malkangiri resident said.

Another resident Gobind Patra added “If the decision is implemented then it is likely to upset everyone since Malkangiri is mostly a tribal and economically backward area and people cannot afford private healthcare.”

Meanwhile, hospital authorities have clarified that the decision is being taken at a higher level and it would be more beneficial for the poor.

Dr Amarendra Mohanty, CDMO, Malkangiri said “A private agency will be allowed to open up super speciality healthcare units inside the DHH. It will have all the modern facilities in Urology, Cardiology, Higher Nephrology, and Spinal Surgery etc. just like a super speciality hospital.”

“Here people would be able to avail these costly treatments at a cheaper price. These are not available in any DHH. 50 percent beds would be reserved for poor people,” he said.

Similarly, Odisha Health Minister Pratap Jena also clarified that the state government will bear the health expenses of the poor people who would like to get super speciality treatment at the PPP-cum-district headquarters hospitals.