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Privatisation of hospital cleaning services, West Bengal
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Subject Area="Public / private partnership (including NGOs)." Objective="Improved hospital services."
Details for Reform Option "Privatisation of hospital cleaning services, West Bengal"

Background: As part of the West Bengal Health Systems Development Project (launched June 1996), the State Government decided to contract out some hospital services to private agencies to improve quality and to allow hospital managers to concentrate on patient care rather than building maintenance. Action: Cleaning services were contracted out to private agencies. The agencies are appointed by the Chief Medical Officer on behalf of the District Health and Family Welfare Samiti at each hospital and approved by the Department of Health & Family Welfare (DoHFW). The District Health and Family Welfare Samiti has the authority to change the cleaning schedule/guidelines drawn up by State Government to suit its own facility. Results: West Bengal DoHFW report cleaner facilities and greater patient satisfaction. Surveys have shown patient satisfaction to have risen from 25% to 74%.

Cost Depends on the size of the institution. Approximately INR 500,000 for a 500 bedded hospital. Costs for tendering procedures are separate.
Place From May 2002 at 5 major hospitals in Kolkata – SSKM Hospital, Medical College and Hospital, RG Kar Medical College and Hospital, NRS Medical College and Hospital and National Medical College and Hospital – and then extended to all tertiary level and secondary hospitals with more than 100 beds.
Time Frame As long as it takes to secure a Government Order and choose a contractor. In West Bengal, it took approximately 6 months to issue the Government Order. The actual tendering procedure was done by the Institution at the local level.

Accountable: The agency must do a good job or it will lose the contract. Patient satisfaction: Cleaner conditions encourage more patients to attend facilities. It also teaches important hygiene messages.


Possible opposition: From existing government-employed cleaning staff.


Political will; Capable private cleaning agencies.

Who needs to be consulted

Officers of State department of Health & Family Welfare; Chief Medical Officers of Health (CMOH);



Sustainable, provided there is political will and adequate budget allocation. The system is being continued either through renewal of contracts or fresh tenders.

Chances of Replication

Has already been extended from the 5 initial hospitals to all secondary and tertiary hospitals.


Hospital security has also been outsourced under the same contracting system. Security personnel must be ex-servicemen. Operation and maintenance of generators has also been contracted out. The West Bengal Health & Family Welfare Department has brought out a policy document on ‘Health Sector Reform’ and developed a ‘Strategic Framework’ which has dealt at length on partnership with private sector and NGOs. It has developed a ‘Draft policy for Public Private Partnership in the Health Sector’ which is available on their website for public feedback. See entry on “Establishing a Public Private Partnership Policy, West Bengal”.


Submitted By

Clare Kitchen, Research Consultant, ECTA, New Delhi. November 2004.

Status Active
Reference Files
GO_31 01 05.doc West Bengal DHF&W memo (6 May 2002) specifying the manpower required for security and area of scavenging at the hospitals for tertiary level hospitals.
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