A group of NGOs urged the need for the urgent creation of a National Regulator for Health Sector, which can become an effective tool for monitoring the delivery of healthcare services in an affordable manner to improve access to under-privileged sections of the society.
According to a paper on 'Urgent need for Universal Health Coverage in the interest of Underprivileged Society of India', to bring transparency and in current dismal scenario of primary health centres, this regulator should be empowered to take strong action against inefficient use of resources meant for healthcare and assure accessibility to the healthcare delivery system as per standards and existing laws.
Bejon Kumar Misra, Founder of Consumer Online Foundation, emphasized that it can also play a pivotal role in engaging with the private sector in managing the inefficient primary healthcare system in the country like it has already happened in a few states as pilot.
"The insurance regulator (IRDA) is not taking serious action against the insurance companies, who are least interested in the welfare of the policy makers. There are several complaints reaching the regulator but they are all getting converted into disputes and litigations. The tiff between Third Party Assessors (TPAs), Insurers and hospitals are now a common phenomenon and the individual policyholder are left in the lurch. These issues needs to be addressed promptly to encourage citizens to buy health insurance to cover the risk arising from lack of accessibility to the private sector delivered healthcare," said Misra.
S Krishnan, Chairman, Healthy You Foundation, said that to bring transparency in its objectives, the Regulator could be headed by a senior government official and retired judge from Supreme Court and should have participation from all important stakeholders such as Ministry of Health, experts from concerned agencies in states, legal, NGOs, industry associations etc.
Prafull D Seth, Former Vice-President of International Pharmaceutical Federation, and Ashok Agarwal, senior Supreme Court advocate, said that most of the government hospitals are overcrowded and lack infrastructure and resources to meet the growing demand, while access to essential health services in rural areas remains poor.