According to research issued on Thursday, India needs 2 billion square feet of healthcare space to serve its existing population of 1.42 billion. India now has a 2.4 million bed shortage to meet World Health Organization (WHO) standards. 

According to the Global Healthcare Report published by real estate consultants Knight Frank and Berkadia, India’s bed-to-population ratio, which includes both private and public institutions, is 1.3 per 1,000 people. It should be 3 per 1,000, according to WHO. 

It is much lower than the national averages of 13 in Japan, 4.3 in China, 2.9 in the United States of America (USA), and 2.5 in the United Kingdom (UK). 

Given the tremendous expansion of India’s healthcare business, this gap is critical. The Indian healthcare industry was predicted to be worth $372 billion in 2022, up from $73 billion in 2012. 

Furthermore, two elements are contributing to the industry’s quick development. 

First, India’s population (1.42 billion) has already surpassed China’s (1.41 billion), according to the World Bank. However, India’s official figures are unknown since the Centre has yet to conduct the Census, which was initially slated for 2021.

Second, India is one of the top healthcare tourism destinations, demanding even greater investment in the field. 

In the pre-pandemic years of 2014 to 2019, the influx of foreign visitors on medical visas increased by 30% every year. India scored 10th out of 46 locations globally in the Medical Tourism Index (2020-21). In addition, in 2022, the Centre announced the “Heal in India” project to boost medical tourism.  

According to the report’s findings, the cost of medical operations in India is far cheaper than that of its Asian counterparts. A coronary artery bypass, for example, costs $26,000 in South Korea and $17,200 in Singapore. In India, it costs $7,900. 

Heart valve replacement is another treatment that costs $39,990 in South Korea, $17,200 in Turkey and Thailand, $16,900 in Singapore, and $9,500 in India. Knee and hip replacement costs $21,000 in South Korea and $17,000 in Thailand. The price in India is $7,200. 

Addressing this demand necessitates nearly doubling the current real estate capacity to adequately meet the expanding healthcare requirements of the population,” said Shishir Baijal, chairman and managing director at Knight Frank India. 

Post the pandemic, healthcare ranks amongst the mainstream avenues for investors looking for investments into long income generating assets.

According to the research, the industry would also witness increased demand as a result of shifting global demographics.  

The global healthcare sector remains buoyant and is expected to grow despite a challenging economic outlook. This comes as the global population shifts rapidly towards an aging demographic, which is anticipated to drive demand for elderly care beds, particularly for full-time nursing care delivered in specialized facilities,” it said.