Budget Expectations 2024- Healthcare – Dr Raj Nagarkar, MD & Chief of Surgical Oncology & Robotic Services, HCG Manavata Cancer Centre (HCGMCC)

Budget Expectations 2024- Healthcare – Dr Raj Nagarkar, MD & Chief of Surgical Oncology & Robotic Services, HCG Manavata Cancer Centre (HCGMCC)

Union Budget 2024-25

For the upcoming Union Budget, there are several key areas where expectations for healthcare funding and initiatives require to be focused by the Government. These include: –

Increased Healthcare Spending:We would expect an increase in the overall healthcare budget to improve infrastructure, facilities and services. Particularly in view of aging population and increased incidence of chronic diseases like cancer.Aging individuals require advanced care and modern facilities, while chronic diseases need on-going treatment and specialized programs. Increased funding will enable hospital expansion, state-of-the-art equipment and preventive initiatives.

Rural Healthcare:There must be an enhanced focus on rural healthcare services to bridge the gap between urban and rural healthcare infrastructure.Rural areas often lack access to advanced medical facilities and specialized care. By improving rural healthcare, we can ensure that residents receive timely, quality medical services. This includes investing in rural clinics, telemedicine, mobile health units and training programs for rural healthcare workers. Strengthening rural healthcare infrastructure will reduce disparities, improve health outcomes and ensure equitable access to medical care for all citizens, regardless of their location.

Public Health Initiatives:We advocate for increased funding for public health programs targeting critical issues like malnutrition, maternal and child health, cancer and infectious diseases.Enhanced funding can support comprehensive nutrition programs to combat malnutrition, maternal and child health services to reduce mortality rates and robust cancer screening and prevention initiatives. Additionally, more resources can strengthen infectious disease control, ensuring rapid response and prevention measures. Investing in these public health programs will lead to healthier communities, lower healthcare costs in the long run and improved overall public health outcomes.

Medical Education and Training:Investment in medical colleges and training programs is essential to address the shortage of healthcare professionals. By enhancing medical education and expanding training opportunities, we can ensure a steady supply of well-qualified doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers. This is crucial for providing quality treatment to patients and improving overall healthcare delivery. Additionally, such investments will help bridge the gap in underserved areas, ensuring that all regions have access to skilled healthcare providers.

Technology and Innovation:A the world moves forward with advancements in technology and science, it is imperative that the Government promotes initiatives to integrate technology in healthcare for telemedicine, digital health records and improved service delivery.

Insurance Schemes:Expanding the coverage and benefits of health insurance schemes for the economically weaker sections is also becoming increasingly important. By doing so, we can ensure that more people have access to essential healthcare services without the burden of high out-of-pocket expenses. Also, the Government should increase the insurance limits in accordance with the latest guidelines of treatment and spending.This adjustment will help individuals receive comprehensive care and keep pace with the rising costs of medical treatments. Strengthening insurance schemes will promote equitable healthcare access and financial protection for vulnerable populations, ultimately improving public health outcomes.

Support Private healthcare:Private healthcare has proved to be the backbone of medical facilities. Proactive and concrete support from the Government is essential to ensure this sector can efficiently manage patient inflows. This support could include policy incentives, financial assistance and streamlined regulations, enabling private healthcare providers to expand their services and infrastructure. Strengthening public-private partnerships will enhance overall healthcare delivery, ensuring patients receive timely and high-quality care, thereby alleviating the pressure on public healthcare facilities and improving health outcomes across the board.

Mental Health:There should also be an increased focus and funding for mental health services, recognizing the growing need for such support.With rising cases of anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders, allocating resources to expand access to mental health care is crucial. This includes funding for more mental health professionals, creating awareness programs and integrating mental health services into primary care. Enhanced support for mental health will lead to better overall well-being, reducing the stigma and ensuring timely and effective treatment for those in need.

As explained by Dr Raj Nagarkar, MD & Chief of Surgical Oncology & Robotic Services, HCG Manavata Cancer Centre (HCGMCC).

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