Pune, September 16, 2020: Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) is on a mission to privatize hospitals and dispensaries instead of providing affordable and quality healthcare facilities to the citizens of the city. PMC spending crores of rupees in privatization of hospitals and it is being done on the pretext that there is not enough machinery to run the hospitals and the state government does not approve filling new vacancies. In the last few years, the civic body has taken the initiative to privatize seven small and big hospitals.
The PMC health department has set up dispensaries, maternity wards and hospitals in the city. Apart from this, health facilities have been provided at a total of 72 places including general hospitals, infectious disease hospitals and vaccination centres. Crores of rupees are allocated for health facilities every year. However, in the last several years, the corporation has failed to provide all kinds of health facilities under one roof. Citizens are forced to shell out high costs at private hospitals due to deteriorating medical services provided by the PMC.
For a population of 50 lakh in Pune city, the health system is inadequate and crumbling. In this situation, the privatization of hospitals has been planned at a time when hospitals and dispensaries need to be empowered. The PMC has privatized Dalvi Hospital at Shivajinagar, Kutir Hospital at Aundh, Rajiv Gandhi Hospital at Yerwada, as well as those in Kharadi and Bopodi. The PMC has entered into an agreement with an institute to run some facilities at Kamla Nehru Hospital. However, in all these hospitals, the citizens are not getting proper treatment and due to privatization, the municipal corporation has no control over these hospitals.
The privatization of municipal hospitals is depriving poor patients of access to affordable treatment. It is the responsibility of PMC to provide quality healthcare. Hospitals should be run by the PMC. Proposals for privatization must be consistently opposed, said Dr Siddharth Dhende, Corporator, Pune Municipal Corporation.