India has always had a very large private health sector with providers of modern medicine as well as traditional practitioners. It also has one of the largest pharmaceutical industries in the world, producing and exporting drugs world-wide.
Today India is dubbed the 'healthcare hub' of Asia, and its government is keen to market India as a top medical tourism destination so in 2005 it introduced a special Medical Visa for international patients travelling to India for their healthcare. As one of the key players in medical tourism there is a growing need for accredited hospitals to ensure best practice in a safe environment and the Indian government is establishing minimum quality standards to reassure patients seeking treatment abroad that India’s private hospitals can offer highly sophisticated and specialised medical services.
Many of India's private hospitals are gaining ISO9001 standardisation status (the voluntary standardisation run by a non governmental body where hospitals must pass rigorous tests to be certified) or the Joint Commission International USA - the Gold Standard accreditation for US and European hospitals to represent the provision of the highest levels of patient care and patient safety.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is responsible for quality control in the hospitals/clinics and the Medical Council of India is similar to the UK’s General Medical Council in that all doctors must be registered with this organisation in order to practice. The Indian Medical Association looks after the interests of doctors as well as the community in which they practice and 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. The IHCF has a membership of around 300 members from across India and is affiliated to the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
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