Ayushman Bharat initiative set to drive demand for phlebotomists

Experts reckon that more than 11,000 new jobs for phlebotomists are likely to be created over the next year. Due to the paucity, their monthly salaries have jumped by about 70% to Rs 20,000-24,000 over last year.

NEW DELHI: India is facing a shortage of phlebotomists—people trained to draw blood from patients for transfusions, clinical and medical testing. With the government’s Ayushman Bharat initiative to provide medical cover to poor families, demand for these already scarce medical professionals may grow further, according to recruitment firms. And, as health test providers expand, demand for professionals in haematology— the study and treatment of blood—is poised to grow.

Experts reckon that more than 11,000 new jobs for phlebotomists are likely to be created over the next year. Due to the paucity, their monthly salaries have jumped by about 70% to Rs 20,000-24,000 over last year.

“The healthcare sector is set for a significant transformation through the Ayushman Bharat initiative, which will increase the number of citizens with access to health insurance,” said Paul Dupuis, CEO of Randstad India, an HR consulting firm. “We expect that demand for haematology services will increase by about 40% in the next 12-18 months with corresponding increase in the number of fulltime phlebotomists across the country.” There are 95,000-125,000 phlebotomists employed in the country, according to TeamLease Services, a staffing and recruitment firm.


“Currently, there is a huge shortage of phlebotomists in India. To plug the gap, health sector skill council with industry experts have developed the qualification pack—National Occupational Standards for phlebotomy technicians,” said Rituparna Chakraborty, co-founder of TeamLease. “Even if the government decides to tie-up with private operators under the PPP model for Ayushman Bharat, private players will seek skilled employees —not just phlebotomists, but general physicians, pharmacists and nurses,” said AG Rao, group managing director of ManpowerGroup Services India. According to ManpowerGroup, a phlebotomist with 1-3 years of experience can earn up to `60,000 per month. With the rise in demand, their salaries could rise by 30% this year, said Rao. Healthians, a Gurgaon-based doorstep health test provider, plans to add 3,000 phlebotomists to its current team of 450 employees over the next three years. The company intends to enter new cities and double its team by adding 500 people in 12 months, including 200 phlebotomists.

“We have the largest trained fleet of phlebotomists for home sample collection in India. We aim to create around 3,000 jobs for phlebotomists alone over the next 36 months,” said Deepak Sahni, founder of Healthians. Founded in 2015, Healthians is available in 20 cities. It is looking at starting operations in another 20 cities including Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad and Bengaluru and overseas in Southeast Asia, Africa and the Middle East over this financial year. The demand growth coincides with plans of health test providers to expand into tier-1and 2 cities.

“By March 2019, we want our diagnostics business to grow by 50%. We also want to enhance our presence in tier-2 cities,” said Saritha TP, senior vice president of human resources at Portea. The company currently has about 100 phlebotomists on its rolls and some 70 on contract. At Portea, the phlebotomists earn upwards of `24,000 per month compared with Rs 14,000-16,000 for new hires.

“With the growing demand for diagnostic tests and the increasing trend towards preventive check-ups, the salary as well as demand has increased significantly over the last three years,” said Saritha TP. Mymedicinebox, currently operational in Mumbai, acquired two companies—Okkler Healthcare and Remedial Healthcare—in the past year. “We would need 250 phlebotomists as per our business plan at all major metros over next year,” said Man Mohan Gupta, co-founder of Mymedicinebox. “Most of the major players are expanding the healthcare delivery in India from hospitals to home care facilities with a lot of mergers and acquisitions taking places within the Indian medical industry,” said Chakraborty of TeamLease.

Nursing institutes, independent training colleges, partners of National Skill Development Corporation and all large labs in the country are the right pools for recruitment, said Saritha of Portea. To become a phlebotomist, one must be a graduate or post-graduate in science, with either a diploma or master’s degree in lab technology.




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