Commerce Secretary Rita Teaotia said that India's healthcare industry is private sector driven and 74 percent of expenditure comes from the private sector which was much higher than many other countries, hence there was a need to increase government's expenditure on healthcare and concerted efforts were being made in this regard.
Addressing the first 'Advantage Health Care India 2015', three-day international summit on medical value travel, which saw the participation of 65 countries and more than 500 international delegates, Teotia said that with the capacity to deliver quality health services at an affordable price, India was emerging as a favorable healthcare destination. Also, alternative medicines like ayurveda and naturopathy, which constitute an important healthcare segment, being easily accessible made India's healthcare services holistic.
The summit-cum seminar was organized by FICCI in association with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the Services Export Promotion Council (SEPC). Teaotia said that there was a need to focus on human resources and standards hence, accreditation was essential to build confidence and uniformity in the system. She added that the government was open to all forms of accreditation and urged the hospitals and labs to put up their accreditation in the public domain.
On the occasion, a white paper titled 'Advantage India: Healthcare Starts Here' was released by the dignitaries. B P Sharma, Health and Family Welfare Secretary, said that the government recognizes the need to strengthen the regulatory framework of healthcare sector. Hence, reforms in the existing medical legislations and new legislation would be introduced soon for allied health services, which were emerging at a rapid pace.
Also, the much awaited amendment in the Drugs and Cosmetics Act will bring clarity on medical devices. Risk-based assessment for medical devices would be introduced to spur the growth of clinical trials. Sharma said that the healthcare sector could witness a growth like India's IT and ITes sector, given that the country offers an entire spectrum of healthcare and boasts of hi-end technology and well qualified doctors. He added that there was a need to promote accreditation of hospitals and labs and look for avenues of funding to further enhance the sector's growth prospects. Tourism Secretary Vinod Zutshi said that the new proposed Tourism Policy 2015 lays emphasis on medical tourism and would allow the sector to grow.
Also, the National Medical and Wellness Tourism Promotion Board would help in promoting the sector and also become an engine of growth for Indian economy and generate employment opportunities. Zutshi said that India is positioned eighth in the world in foreign tourist arrivals for medical treatment and hosts about 1.27 million medical tourists from the UK, USA, and Canada and other neighboring countries and is a source of generating foreign exchange. The Indian medical value travel industry is expected to grow at a rate of 18 percent till 2019, which would require healthcare and tourism sectors to work aggressively in tandem.
Sudhanshu Pandey, Joint Secretary in the Commerce Ministry, said that medical tourism had so far grown on its own and now the government had recognized the need to synergies various sectors with policy interventions to bring out a coherent framework for healthcare sector players and seekers. India is known for its innovative health solutions and other nations could learn from the experience.
He added that investment in healthcare is a valuable human asset. Sangita Reddy, Chairperson FICCI AP State Council and FICCI National Services Council; Joint MD, Apollo Hospitals Group, said that with emergence of e-visas for tourists has made India as an emerging hotspot for medical tourism. India was an approachable country and provided the best quality treatment, comparable with global medical standards.
She added that the coming together of medical industry with tourism would enhance revenue generation and also build long lasting relationship with countries and showcase India as a healthcare hub. Bhavdeep Singh, CEO, Fortis Healthcare, said that India's healthcare had been great which witnessed very exciting initiatives in the space in the last decade. The sector today possesses the best doctors, state of the art medial technology and infrastructure and had great value proposition.
He added that the quality of Indian healthcare was at par with global standards and there was a need to enhance the value proposition. Abhay Soi, Chairperson, FICCI Working Group on Medical Value Travel and CMD, Radiant Life Care Pvt Ltd, said that the 5 Ts of Tradition, Talent, Tourism, Trade and Technology - would take the Indian healthcare to greater heights. The international summit has brought together 120 thought leaders from the medical industry from across the globe, and they would deliberate on creating an ecosystem that would spur the growth of this sector and promote India as the medical tourism destination.
Dr. Azad Moopen, Chairman and Managing Director, Aster DM Healthcare, said that reasonable healthcare cost in the state-of-the art hospitals and medical technologies guarantee huge savings for foreign travelers. While developed countries like USA demand high costs for surgeries of the heart and bones, coming to India for the same treatment at 50% less cost and getting an extended tourist stay during recovery becomes a big driver of medical tourism. He added that there was a need to improve accreditation of hospitals and labs to build confidence and remain comparable with world medical parameters.
Vivek Nair, Vice Chairman, SEPC and Chairman & MD, Hotel Leelaventure, said that healthcare and tourism go hand in hand and synergies needed to be created among the relevant industries for leveraging the benefits of the fast growing medical value travel. He added that besides allopathy, Ayurveda and other wellness treatments are finding favor with people.
Dr. Narottam Puri, Adviser, FICCI Health Services; Board Member and Ex-Chairman, NABH and Advisor-Medical, Fortis Healthcare Ltd., said that the summit had provided a platform to both public and private sectors to come together and forge partnerships in the healthcare arena. With the presence of representatives from 65 participating countries, the summit would allow for deliberations on emerging issues of the sector and also recommend the way forward.