India has always had a very large private health sector including providers of modern medicine as well as traditional practitioners and has one of the largest pharmaceutical industries in the world, producing and exporting drugs to more than 180 countries.
India’s hospitals have earned their reputation as world-class institutions with state-of–the art technology. The prices are attractively low in comparison with the West and as a result there has been a rapid growth in international patients visiting India for medical treatment for cardiac and other major surgery, and the Government is marketing India as a medical tourism destination, having already introduced Medical Visas.
India’s private hospitals offer highly sophisticated and specialised medical services at very affordable prices and a growing trend has emerged for patients to consider India for their private healthcare - the country is now being dubbed the healthcare hub of Asia, with its healthcare industry set to grow by 15 per cent a year for the next six years.
As one of the key players in medical tourism there is a growing need for accredited hospitals, to ensure best practices in a safe environment. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is the body which ensures this quality in the hospitals and clinics and many hospitals are also applying for ISO 9001 accreditation, which is a non-governmental body, to raise their profile.
The Medical Council of India is the main organisation and doctors need to be registered in order to practice. The Indian Medical Association looks after the interests of doctors as well as the community in which they practice. The Indian Health Care Federation (IHCF) is an independent non-statutory body which liaises between government, health providers, medical equipment manufacturers and other medical institutions. IHCF has a membership of around 300 members from across India and is affiliated to the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
The Indian government is working on establishing minimum quality standards to reassure patients seeking treatment abroad and the Joint Commission International USA is the Gold Standard accreditation for US and European hospitals which represents provision of the highest levels of patient care and patient safety.
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