BMC to reduce its expenditure on health, announces a cut in health sector budget

Though the BMC, has announced number of schemes, in the health budget, but health activist are not so happy with the cut

BMC to reduce its expenditure on health, announces a cut in health sector budget
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Is Asia’s richest civil body Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) serious enough about the healthcare sector?  This is the arising question after it has reduced its healthcare budget by Rs382 crore.

The civic body announced its budget for 2017-18 and compared to last year, this year’s budget has a cut.

Allocation for health sector has been reduced from Rs3,693 crore in 2016-17 to Rs3,311 crore for the coming year. Total revenue expenditure for health is Rs2,755.96 crore and capital expenditure is Rs555.77 crore.

In this budget, BMC has proposed nine new modular operation theatres in public hospitals to facilitate infection-free and super speciality services and a budgetary provision of Rs 21.50 crore has been proposed.

“Among these nine operation theatre, five will be at King Edward Memorial Hospital and Seth GS Medical College, two will be at Lokmanya Tilak Municipal General Hospital at Sion and two will be at Topiwala National Medical College and BYL Nair Charitable Hospital,” said Dr Avinash Supe, Director of major civic hospitals.

Public hospitals in Mumbai have shortage of ventilators and there is always a crunch.

“So this year, for ICU beds and ventilators, we have planned to add 400 ventilators for every ICU bed in next 2 years,” added Supe.

To increase the number of ICU beds and ventilators BMC has proposed Rs 30 crore for 2017-18.

Observing last week’s number of incidents of attacks on doctors the BMC has planned to get 400 people from MSFC at annual cost of Rs 15.11crore.

“This is important for safety and security in civic hospitals, it will come into effect from the 1st of April,” said Supe.

Though the BMC, has announced number of schemes, in the health budget, but health activist are not so happy with the cut. Dr Abhay Shukla, co-convener Jan Swastha Abhiyan said, “This budget is disappointing. Due to the cut in the budget, this will increase pressure on the public hospitals. Less budget provision means less number of healthcare services. With rising load on the public hospitals, BMC should have increased budget so that they could have provided better healthcare services to people”.

Among the other major initiatives, one very important initiative is Aapli Chikitsa, which will provide basic and advance pathological tests at the dispensaries, maternity homes, specialised and peripheral hospitals to all the needy patients at cheaper rates. Rs 16.15 crore has been proposed for diagnostic tests at the dispensaries, maternity homes, to needy patients.

“It will outsource laboratory testing for all maternity homes, peripheral hospitals and dispensaries to a private company. The programme is expected to begin by this monsoon. The additional charges over the government rates will be paid by the civic body directly to the laboratory,” said Supe.

Supe also added that it will reduce the burden of tests on major hospitals and more than this it will be convenient and affordable for the patient.

Currently, major blood testing laboratories are located in Kasturba, KEM, Sion, RN Cooper and Nair Hospital. JJ hospital is the other state-run hospital that provides facility for blood tests in Mumbai. When it comes to patients in peripheral hospitals such as V N Desai, Bhagwati, Kurla Bhabha Hospital in the suburbs, they are either referred to major hospitals for blood tests or asked to visit private laboratories at their own cost.

Under this programme tests like dengue, malaria and leptospirosis and certain advanced blood tests will be done at cheaper rates. The private lab will collect daily samples from each hospital and dispensary and deposit the report in the hospital in a day so that the patient can access it. KEM hospital conducts over 8,000 such tests on a daily basis while Sion and Nair hospital conduct around 6,000 blood tests.

BMC intends to start video conferencing/tele-medicine between major Hospitals for expert opinion for treatment of patients through V-Sat or internet. Speciality and super speciality experts at BMC’s medical colleges: KEM Hospital, LTMG Sion Hospital, BYL NAIR Hospital and RN Cooper hospital will offer opinions through video conferencing.

As a part of TB eradication campaign, the BMC has allotted Rs 90.61 crore rupees. It is proposed to upgrade C & DST lab at GTB and KEM hospital. Also daily drug treatment regime for all drug sensitive TB patients will be started using 99 DOTS system, which will help in monitoring irregularity in treatment of patients.

The up-gradation of burn centres at Kasturbha, Sion and KEM hospital by increasing staff, equipment’s.

For multi-speciality clinics Rs 10 lakhs has been proposed. To improve strength of nurses across city hospitals, BMC has proposed creation of 582 new posts. As part of PNG gas project to provide eco-friendly and safe natural gas at all major hospitals like KEM, Kasturbha, Cooper, Nair hospital. For this 1 crore has been proposed.

To make Mumbai defecation free, BMC has proposed Rs 5.70 crore for household latrines and Rs 76 crore for community toilets. For installation of sanitary napkin vending machine and incinerator in community toilets blocks 1 crore has been proposed.  It has also proposed to install 100 sanitary napkin vending machines and incinerator in community toilets.

BMC is in process of strengthening peripheral medical services.  Work on construction of Kasturba Cross Road Hospital at Borivali has started and tenders floated for redevelopment of MT Agarwal Hospital in Mulund, Bhagwati Hospital in Borivali and Centenary Hospital in Govandi. Provision of Rs 25.48 crore for it made in 2017-18 budget.

Tenders will be processed for new hostels at KEM Hospital, LTMG Sion Hospital and BYL Nair Hospital. Also tender for hostels at Hindu Hridaya Samrat Balasaheb Thackeray Medical College at Tata compound. Rs 2.50 crore has been allocated for this.

The total size of the budget is Rs. 25,141 crore, which is significantly less than last year’s financial budget, which was Rs. 37,052 crore.