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Rising doctors pay weighs on medical inflation

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Sangeetha G    02 May 2018

Specialist doctors have topped the list of highest paid professionals this year. Increasing salaries of doctors are going to be a cause of worry for patients, as the country has one of the highest medical inflation rates across the globe.

As per a recent study by Randstad, specialist doctors of 6-10 years of experience got an average annual salary of Rs 18.4 lakh, which is the highest among professionals from all the industries.

“The salaries of doctors are increasing year after year as the doctor-patient ratio in India is still dismal due to scarcity for professionals. In 2017, a lot of private hospitals chains went live with new tertiary care facilities and this increased the need for specialist doctors. The trend is expected to continue in the coming years as well,” said Paul Dupuis, MD & CEO of Randstad India.

As per the data from Medical Council of India, there are 10,22,859 registered allopathic doctors in the country and the number of practicing doctors are lesser. The doctor-patient ratio is 0.62:1000 in India.

“Given the emphasis on specialised care, today’s doctors work much more than what they used to do a few ye¬ars back. They are doing difficult procedures and are recognised among the highly qualified doctors across the globe. Some of the private hospital chains also set targets for them. In such a situati¬on, they need to be paid adequately,” said Aswajit Si¬n¬gh, chairman and MD of IPE Global.

However, increasing pay will have a bearing on medical inflation. As per Mercer Marsh Benefits (MMB) global medical trend survey, In¬dia had the highest medical inflation rate in Asia and was among the top five countries with highest medical inflation rates across the globe.

In 2016, India registered a medical inflation rate of 15.3 per cent against the glo¬bal average of 9.9 per cent. In 2017, it was projected to be 14 per cent against global average of 9.7 per cent.

While, some experts find that the universal health co¬verage planned by the government will further incre¬ase medical inflation, some believe that higher penetration of insurance will control the pricing of healthcare.

“Today there is no standa¬rdised pricing for treatments and many hospitals take the patients for a ride if the ch¬a¬rges are paid out of the pocket. Insurance companies can have a better control over the pricing,” said Singh.

He said insurance companies could streamline the patient flow to primary, secondary or tertiary care centres based on the severity of the ailment. This will bring down the pressure on the tertiary care centres.

Columnist: Sangeetha G.

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