Facelift of government hospitals may be a big burden to new Andhra government

Facelift of government hospitals may be a big burden to new Andhra government

VIJAYAWADA: The moment after taking oath, the TDP-led NDA government besides shouldering the responsibility of developing Andhra Pradesh, is likely to be burdened with numerous challenges in the healthcare sector.

Though the government hospitals have seen a significant facelift in the past five years under YSRC governance, the doctors have pointed out certain negligence in developing the health sector in the State.

According to the sources, the centuries-old government hospitals, which lack proper operation theatres, equipment and beds, will likely force the new government to plunge into a debt crisis due to its over-dependence on private hospitals for Aarogyasri services.

The doctors of government hospitals have criticised that though the previous government had appointed super speciality doctors, the lack of proper surgical equipment and materials in their respective departments is haunting the sector.

Apart from these, the issues such as unpaid PRC arrears for the government doctors, and appointment of kin of doctors, who died during Covid-19, under compassionate grounds are yet to be fulfilled. It is to be noted that the State government also did not enhance the stipends for house surgeons, junior doctors and super speciality PGs since January.

Andhra Pradesh Government Doctors Association State President Dr D Jayadheer emphasised the need to develop 11 government Teaching Hospitals (medical colleges), particularly their super speciality wings.

He highlighted the need for state-of-the-art facilities in major hospitals in Visakhapatnam and Tirupati like in Vijayawada. Jayadheer also pointed out that while private hospitals have special wards for schemes like Aarogyasri and EHS, government hospitals do not meet these standards. 

He plans to discuss necessary precautions for the development of the health sector in Andhra Pradesh with the government and private hospitals doctors and present a detailed report to the new government within ten days.

Meanwhile, the Chandrababu Naidu’s government would face significant challenges in continuing the Aarogyasri scheme. This programme, which provides free medical treatment to the poor, was the brainchild of former Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy. It was renamed NTR Aarogyasri during Chandrababu’s regime and later renamed as Dr YSR Aarogyasri by former CM YS Jagan Mohan Reddy.

The number of beneficiaries has reached lakhs, as the procedures covered have expanded to more than three thousand. Recently, the AP Super Specialty Hospitals Association halted services protesting against unpaid dues, potentially amounting to Rs 1,600 crore.

Andhra Pradesh Specialty Hospitals Association (ASHA) Secretary Dr C Avinash requested the government to clear the dues of nearly Rs 2,000 crore and develop a timely payment mechanism where bills are cleared within 21 days.

He also suggested annual package adjustments based on inflation and an increase of payments to small and corporate hospitals based on quality as the government is paying an equal amount for every procedure.