Monday, September 26, 2011

PPP - Its always prudent to outsource (ref pvt labs in public hospitals-Mumbai)

This is in reference to the page 2 news of TOI today that private players are to be invited by public hospitals in Mumbai for outsourcing of labs.

Though there is always a negative speculation by the narrow minded administrators and ignorant consumer that the costs would go up for the common man, its actually otherwise.

I had outsourced many critical departments while working as administrative officer at NMMC way back in early 2000's. My initiatives were also lauded and featured by European commission's PROD india compilation of PPP initiatives in the country to replicate.
We had outsourced Imaging, housekeeping, laundry, kitchen and many more departments ultimately culminating to the most talked about 'Hiranandani Fortis NMMC' multispeciality tertiary care hospital(this project is facing certain hiccups on lines of seven hills, but should ultimately resolve as its a win win deal for both parties. Its a sincere suggestion to both not to let go this project in larger interest of both parties and the junta at large. This project just needs a little extra willfull support from either parties and will benefit both in long run)

I recently met the outsourced partner for the imaging centres and he was surprisingly pleased at the long lasting relationship with NMMC which lasted almost 5 to 7 years as per terms of contract.

I remember our equipments earlier used to fail, there was shortage of staff, training was always an issue and the patients anyways had to be referred to outside centres for imaging. Recruitment and maintainence requests always used to get lost in bureaucratic approvals and budgetary constraints.

Our negotiations with the outsourced partner not only enabled maintained equipment and optimized strength of staff, but resulted in one 5th to tenth of rates from then prevailing market rates as the volumes based incentives were built in.

I have always believed that government should never use public money on capital infrastructure and should use it on efficient monitoring mechanism for optimal outputs.

The lethargic and unavoidable red tapism and bureaucracy will always slow the process of approvals and decision making to run the systems in streamlined manner, as every one always reels under the fear of getting implicated in some corruption or favoritism charges. So the tender process, policies etc end up being so difficult that the Maintainence of equipment, recruitment of staff etc always remains an issue and leads to a failed operations.

The outsourcing is the key to success not only in labs but in every area of operations. Government needs to just tighten the administrative and monitoring mechanism and build practical policies and attractors for the outsourced partner.

If one does a study on cost of 'ownership' of self owned vs outsourced, government would be surprised to realize that a PPP costs less to the government than managing things on own.

Government should be only involved in making right far sighted policies and should entrust everything to the private players with appropriate monitoring mechanism in place.

PPP ultimately will lead to drastic reduction in corruption, and probably a reason for resistance among the babus and politicians. :)

Dr Akash S Rajpal
Founder, MD & CEO
Ekohealth Management Consultants PVT LTD, Mumbai
Sent on my BlackBerry® from Vodafone