The decision to expand facilities at Aundh District Hospital (ADH), Sangvi on the basis of the Public Private Partnership (PPP) has once again sparked outrage among health activists and organisations working in the public healthcare system.
Maharashtra Health Minister, Tanaji Sawant on Friday, during an event in Pune officially announced expansion of health facilities at ADH through PPP. However, health activists believe the plan is to take over 85 acres of hospital land worth crores of rupees under the guise of PPP.
On Sunday, a meeting was held between activists and public healthcare organisations in which it was decided to approach the chief minister to halt the expansion process. It was also decided to take help of Opposition party leaders to raise the issue the assembly session.
Health activist, Deepak Jadhav of Patient Rights Campaign, informed that the land where ADH is constructed was given to the state government by the Defence Ministry 75-years ago for construction of the hospital. If the facilities are given to a private organisation, the public will lose free healthcare services. “The government can increase the facilities on their own but involvement of private companies is wrong. The aim is just to siphon the huge land that belongs to the public. If the decision is not scrapped we will hold an indefinite protest,” he said.
Earlier, on May 24, political parties had also protested the expansion. The deputy director of health services on the same day announced that there are no plans of privatisation. However, now, Sawant has publicly announced the expansion on PPP model.
Sawant said, “To reduce the burden of patients at Sassoon General Hospital, healthcare facilities at ADH will be expanded through PPP model. The hospital will now have 1,500 beds, a 300-bed mental hospital and cancer hospital and a nursing college. Lodging facility for patients’ guests at the hospital will also be developed. In return, private developers will get the remaining land for private projects.”
The project will be done following the rules and approvals from the central government and all services to patients will be free of cost. The development cost is of ₹20,000 crore and the private firm will be given a profit of 20%,” added Sawant.
Health activist, Sharad Shetty said, “Not a single private firm will invest money unless they get a profit in it. The profit will be for the private company and the loss for the public. The diagnostic facility at the ADH which was given on PPP is an example of how the patients are deprived of free treatment after the involvement of a private firm.”