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India needs three million doctors, 3.6 million hospital beds by 2034

PwC suggests that low-cost operational models combined with innovative financing models could help secure the needed resources.

twitter-logoPB Jayakumar | January 28, 2015 | Updated 19:48 IST
India needs three mn doctors, 3.6 mn hospital beds by 2034
(Photo: Reuters)

The Indian healthcare delivery system will need to add 3.6 million beds, three million doctors and six million nurses over the next 20 years, says a recent study by consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). The report, called 'The Future of India : The Winning Leap', says roughly 100,000 hospital beds have been added annually over the last decade and if India continues to maintain this rate, it will fall short of target by 1.6 million beds by 2034.

At present, there are only 0.65 doctors, 1.3 nurses and 1.3 hospital beds per 1,000 people in the country. The desired requirement by 2034 for every 1,000 people is 2.5 doctors, five nurses and 3.5 beds. To achieve this standard, the study estimates, an investment of around $245 billion would be required.

PwC suggests that low-cost operational models combined with innovative financing models could help secure the needed resources. These include public-private partnerships, low-cost specialty care models like the one followed by eye hospital Arvind in Madurai and cardiac care specialist Narayana Hrudayalaya in Bangalore. High asset utilisation as well as para-skilling of nurses (training them to perform some procedures that previously only doctors could do) can further help to lower costs and enable the staff to serve larger volumes of patients. Leveraging digital technologies and strength as a world leader in vaccine manufacturing also can help the country save about $90 billion in capital costs, says the study.

PwC says the study is the outcome of interviews with about 80 leaders in India and abroad, workshops with sector leaders, insights from academic and economic specialists, and an online survey completed by more than 1,500 people.

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