India’s largest hospital chain Apollo, with total capacity of 10,000 beds, is looking to sew partnerships with local healthcare sector players to expand its network and reach.
The Group, promoted by Prathap Reddy, is also bullish that the domestic healthcare sector will grow exponentially on the back of radial public health programmes, such as Modicare, and the entry of other institutional players.
“There is an acute shortage of hospital beds and we have been striving to provide quality healthcare through local partnerships and our chain of clinics and telemedicine units,” Apollo Hospitals joint managing director Sangeeta Reddy told Business Standard in Lucknow. She said the single-hospital model had taken a backseat of late, owing to the Group following the partnership route to expand capacity and enter new markets.
Recently, in one of the biggest acquisitions in Indian healthcare space, rival hospital chain Fortis tied up with Asian healthcare major IHH to emerge as a major competition for Apollo, with a combined capacity of 4,600 beds. However, Reddy welcomed the development saying it was good for the domestic healthcare even as she stressed on the key element of improving medical care standards and accessibility for the common man.
She added that all state capitals were potential targets for Apollo, which continues to have predominant presence in south India, but is now focusing on expanding footprint in the north. Apollo recently acquired a 50 per cent stake for over Rs 900 million in Lucknow-based Medics International Lifesciences Ltd, a 330-bed super-speciality hospital spread over 350,000 sq ft. It is expected to start functioning in the next two months.
On Modicare, the flagship programme of the Narendra Modi government to provide health cover of Rs 500,000 per family per year and benefit 100 million poor and vulnerable households or roughly 500 million population, Reddy said Apollo had pioneered advanced healthcare in India in 1983 and entered the health insurance space about 15 years back. She said her group was happy to see affordability and accessibility matrices improving.
Prathap Reddy said Medics provided an excellent opportunity to Apollo to enter the Uttar Pradesh market. He stressed on the threat of non-communicable diseases (NCD) such as diabetes in India, saying that by 2030, 70 per cent of the deaths would occur due to NCD and healthcare cost would be a staggering $4.8 trillion.
He said people from about 130 countries came to India for treatment and there was huge scope for the expansion of the sector, including hospital beds, doctors, nurses and other support staff.
“UP is known for large domestic tourist inflow and we hope Apollo acts as a magnet to attract more people coming to the state not only from India but also abroad,” Sangeeta Reddy said adding medical tourism was still an untapped segment in the country.