Patient Care Boils Down To Mere Economics
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25 July 2010
By Deepa Suryanarayan
Pune scores over Mumbai as a medical tourism destination due to availability of quality treatment at an affordable price. Doctors in Pune put the cost difference in the two cities to almost 60–75% (see cost factor).
"This is but natural in Mumbai, where real estate is available at a premium. The cost of even setting up a small hospital with basic diagnostic facilities is far more than in Pune," said a medical director of a leading hospital. "Everything in Mumbai, including hospital charges, is far more expensive compared to Pune," anaesthetist Dr Vinod Relekar said.
"The doctors, nursing staff, ward boys, technicians, attendants, etc., attached to big hospitals charge more. This, in turn, trickles down to the patient," said another doctor, adding, "A qualified nurse in a major private hospital earns Rs20,000 in Mumbai compared to nearly half the amount in Pune."
Dr Aarti Khandelwal, a Pune–based gynaecologist, who also consults at a city nursing home, said, "Cost of all services in Pune’s major hospitals, from the general ward to the deluxe room, is cheaper compared to hospitals like Hinduja or Lilavati."
Spine surgeon Dr Rajesh Parasnis said, "Pune’s doctors have a lesser patient load. Also, treatment is more conservative. We are not very aggressive about surgery."
"In my experience, the single driving force making patients opt for Pune, is economics," said Dr Sandeep Karmarkar, ENT surgeon, Senfes ENT Hospital and Ruby Hall Clinic, Pune. "When you get competent doctors, facilities at half the cost, why would you not prefer Pune?" asked Karmarkar, who trained in Mumbai.