India reviews state hospitals to end widespread corruption

NEW DELHI Sat Aug 23, 2014 9:57pm IST

Women wait for a routine examination with doctors in Anand town, about 70 km south of Ahmedabad August 24, 2013.  REUTERS/Mansi Thapliyal/Files

Women wait for a routine examination with doctors in Anand town, about 70 km south of Ahmedabad August 24, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Mansi Thapliyal/Files

Related Topics

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - The government on Saturday ordered a review of activities at all state-owned hospitals to end what the health minister called systemic corruption, as part of the new administration's crackdown on malpractice in the healthcare sector.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government has vowed to eradicate graft in India's $74 billion healthcare industry, where doctors receiving extra payments for referring patients to a particular clinic or receiving gifts from companies for prescribing their drugs are common.

"There are many aspects to corruption in hospitals which as a medico I know exist," Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said in a statement.

"If money is made in the allocation of beds or as kickbacks from suppliers, it is sleaze. What is equally corrupt is the silent practice of reserving beds and facilities for employees or VIPs."

Private companies dominate India's healthcare system, while government hospitals are overcrowded and lack the resources to cater to growing demand.

Though the industry is growing at 15 percent per year according to consulting firm PwC, public spending on healthcare has stagnated at about 1 percent of gross domestic product for years.

That compares to 3 percent in China and 8.3 percent in the United States, according to a World Bank database for 2012.

The review ordered on Saturday would also apply to New Delhi's premier All India Institute of Medical Sciences, where thousands of patients queue up daily for subsidized treatment.

The government crackdown started last month after a media report exposed alleged kickback arrangements between diagnostic laboratories and doctors in India's capital.

In recent months, leading doctors and advocacy groups have teamed up to try to root out corruption from the system, forming anti-graft panels at hospitals and writing open letters to the government.

(Reporting by Aditya Kalra, Editing by Krishna N Das and Rosalind Russell)

FILED UNDER:
  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Banking

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Tobacco Control

Tobacco Control

India moves toward ban on loose cigarettes to deter smoking   Full Article 

Pressure on RBI

Pressure on RBI

Exclusive - RBI under pressure to cut rates as growth slips  Full Article 

Asset Sale Dates

Asset Sale Dates

India yet to decide on dates for key asset sales - official   Full Article 

Women on Boards

Women on Boards

Germany to introduce legal quotas for women on company boards  Full Article 

OPEC Oil Talks

OPEC Oil Talks

Saudi, Russia pre-OPEC talks yield no oil output cut  Full Article 

India-U.S. Trade

India-U.S. Trade

India, U.S. hold first trade dialogue in four years  Full Article 

SAARC Summit

SAARC Summit

China looms over SAARC summit in the Himalayas  Full Article 

Microsoft in China

Microsoft in China

Microsoft to pay China $140 million for 'tax evasion'   Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage