Hospitals were traditionally set-up to save lives and give a ray of hope to the needy. However, in today’s arena it is getting highly commercialized; rather no less than a business to mint money. To my surprise, there is a new range of private hospitals in Indian that are taking the ‘luxury route’ for higher profit margins. The idea is to lure affluent locals and tourists to seek medical treatment at their luxury facilities.
Hospital firms such as Fortis Healthcare Ltd, Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Ltd and privately owned Medanta are some of the names that have built or upgraded facilities to tap the top-end of a private healthcare sector. In addition there is international investment from Dubai-based Aster DM Healthcare and ABV Group in the ‘Indian Luxury Healthcare Segment.’
At the 450-bed Fortis Memorial hospital near New Delhi, for example, there is an in-house cinema lounge and a food court. ABV, due to open a luxury hospital in an upscale Mumbai neighbourhood within two years, plans to provide Rolls-Royce cars to ferry its patients. And the rooms at Aster Medcity’s 575-bed hospital in Kerala have warm lighting and hardwood floors intended to give them the feel of a luxury hotel room.
Major reasons for this shift is strong demand for quality medical care which, due to lower costs and a weaker rupee, can be offered to international patients at below-their market prices. A 2014 study by consultants KPMG ranks India as the third top Asian destination for medical tourists after Thailand and Singapore, with 25 per cent growth a year.
Though, it is a great way to build the foreign exchange reserves but it is disturbing to see – the amount of money just being spent to fulfill the luxurious desires of the richer class – in a country where majority of the population can not even access basic medical aid.
What an irony?
Source: Business Line