A recent report by real estate consultancy Knight Frank and their US partners Berkadia has shed light on a concerning healthcare infrastructure gap in India. The report states that India is currently grappling with a shortage of 2.4 million hospital beds, translating to two billion square feet of healthcare space, a critical shortfall considering the country's massive population of 1.42 billion.
The estimated need for additional beds to meet the recommended ratio of 3 beds per 1000 people to meet the SDG goals is a staggering 2.4 million beds.
Presently, India has a substantial disparity between the number of available hospital beds (both private and public) and the required number.
According to the report, the existing bed-to-population ratio is 1.3 per 1000, leaving a deficit of 1.7 per 1000 population.
This stark contrast presents a significant opportunity for both public and private entities to expand their presence in the healthcare industry.
The report highlighted that there are approximately 582 investment opportunities in medical infrastructure, including hospitals, valued at a substantial $32 billion, according to Indian government estimates.
Notably, the hospital industry accounts for 80% of the healthcare market in India, with the private sector holding a majority share of 63%. Currently, India boasts around 70,000 hospitals.
India's healthcare market has seen remarkable growth, reaching an estimated value of $372 billion in 2022, a stark increase from $73 billion in 2012.
This signifies an annual average growth rate of 18%, a pace that accelerated during the pandemic, which stressed the need for enhanced infrastructure and service delivery in the healthcare sector, acting as a catalyst for transformation.
Despite this growth, data from the World Bank reveals a concerning trend in India's healthcare expenditure as a percentage of GDP. Over the past two decades, this percentage has decreased from 4.03% in 2000 to 2.96% in 2020. In contrast, the global average among low- and middle-income countries was over 8% in 2020.
The report underscores the urgent need for substantial investments and strategic planning in India's healthcare infrastructure to bridge the existing gaps and ensure the nation is equipped to meet the growing healthcare demands of its vast population.