'Additional FSI for hospitals will bring down healthcare cost'

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Chennai, Mar 28 (UNI) Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) National Committee on Healthcare and Apollo Hospitals Chairman C Pratap Reddy has urged the Tamil Nadu Government to hike the Floor Space Index (FSI) for hospitals and healthcare institutions from the current 1.5 to 5 to bring down the rising healthcare costs and increase the number of beds and healthcare talent pool.

''The relaxation in FSI will allow hospitals and institutions to create more infrastructure on the same premises. They do not have to invest as much as 40-50 per cent of the project cost in acquiring new lands. Instead, they can invest directly in healthcare equipment or human resources and reduce healthcare cost,'' he pointed out.

In a release here last night, Dr Reddy said the increasing land prices in the State meant that the land cost constituted about 40-50 per cent of a hospital project and with low FSI, hospitals were not able to increase beds on the same premises.

At present, there was only one bed for 1,100 people in Tamil Nadu, whereas the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended at least 1:500 ratio. The additional FSI of five, as in Mumbai, would increase the number of hospital beds by approximately 20-30 per cent. The FSI in Delhi and Karnataka was three, he added.

Dr Reddy said the FSI should be the same across the State to benefit especially the small 20-bed hospitals ''the frontline brigades in the battlefield for saving the lives of people in need of emergency treatment''. These small hospitals constitute 80 per cent of the total healthcare services provided in the State.

At the national level, India needed to double its bed strength of seven lakh to meet the WHO recommendation of one bed for 500 people.

As the country added 25 million children every year, India needed to invest Rs 80,000 crore to create one lakh additional beds every year for the next 20 years, he said.

In comparison, Japan had one bed for 90 people, while Russia and the Western nations have one bed for 110 and 250 people respectively, he added.

Dr Reddy urged the other states to follow the healthcare model of Andhra Pradesh, which intended to cover five crore people - over 80 per cent of its population with its new healthcare scheme,' Arogya Sree.' UNI SNR GD SBC HT1128

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