The Health Ministry last week unveiled the National Medical Care Document, which includes its vision expanding and improving the health sector by year 2025.
Two years in making, the study calls for doubling the number of hospital beds across the country by building new government and private hospitals, deputy health minister, Mohammad Aqajani said, IRNA reported.
Improving equal access to healthcare services, development of healthcare facilities in deprived areas and catering to the increasing demand for medical and health care are among other objectives of the document.
“The number of hospital beds will increase to 213,000 from the present 120,000 beds. The ministry has plans to add 73,000 beds in state-run hospitals and 40,000 in private hospitals.”
A new model for private-run hospitals has been proposed that would be financially backed by the government to provide services at government-set tariffs, he said without elaboration.
At present, Iran has only 1.5 hospital beds per 1,000 people. Assuming that the population will increase from the current 80 million to almost 88 million by 2025, the ratio would rise to 2.4 beds per 1,000 people, still below the international standard of three hospital beds per 1,000 people.
“As per the document, all cities with a population of more than 50,000 should have at least one 60-bed hospital. For cities with a population between 20,000 and 50,000, smaller health centers will be constructed,” the senior official was quoted as saying.
The document also envisions that by 2025, an estimated 66% of hospital beds will be in state-run hospitals and 34% in privately-owned hospitals.
According to published reports Iran has 550 state-run and 350 private hospitals.
Currently about 9.5% (7.6 million) of the population comprises people above 60 years of age. The number is projected to grow to nearly 15 million by 2025.
The deputy minister anticipated that more medical care personnel will be needed in the next eight years to meet the needs of the rapidly ageing population.
“The number of seats for nursing and medical science students at medical universities will be increased subject to demand,” Aqajani said.
The ministry has estimated that 300,000 new direct jobs and thousands more indirect jobs will be created as a result of the expansion and growth in healthcare facilities.
Last week the Health Ministry received permission from the government to recruit 11,000 people in newly established hospitals and healthcare centers.
The recruitment comes after an agreement was signed between the ministry and the Management and Planning Organization to fill vacancies in newly-built hospitals. During the last Iranian year (ended in March), 31 new hospitals opened in Iran, increasing the total capacity of hospitals by 3,000 beds.
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