The National Health Authority is in talks to partner with the National Cancer Grid. Once the proposal is implemented, Ayushman Bharat beneficiaries will be able to seek the best advice from a network of cancer specialists digitally linked across the country. This would ensure the best possible consultation without having to long distances.
National Cancer Grid runs from Mumbai’s Tata Memorial Hospital, is a digital network linking hospitals, that deals with complex cancer cases.
Ayushman Bharat deputy CEO Dinesh Arora said “We are expecting to sign an agreement with the National Cancer Grid within 2-3 weeks. This will not only improve accessibility, but will also help us develop standard treatment protocols and guidelines for all type of cancers,”.
With the rising incidence of cancer, officials expect the demand for cancer care to increase exponentially. “Partnering with the National Grid will enable vetting of treatment plans from across the country by the board to ensure that patients across the country are receiving the best advice,” Arora said. He also mentioned that there is an urgent need to ramp up infrastructure to meet the rising demand for cancer treatment.
Over 30% of the total tertiary cases treated under the health insurance program Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) — under government’s flagship Ayushman Bharat programme, are for cancer treatment. The government has earmarked around Rs 400 crore for cancer care under the scheme.
Currently, there are 1,574 hospitals with cancer treatment facilities under the scheme, out of these just 438 are hospitals that offer multi-modal treatment facilities, including chemotherapy and radiation.
PMJAY aims to provide an annual health cover of Rs 5 lakh to around 50 crore beneficiaries in around 10.74 crore families. So far, 16.82 lakh hospital admissions have been recorded under the scheme. Of this, 30% are tertiary care cases accounting for 75% of the over Rs 2,200 crore authorised for hospital admissions.