Donít ban private practice
Banning it can result in quackery
DEBATE BY DR MURASSA SHAMSHAD
The first question that arises while debating private practise of doctors is why do people flock to private clinics? Despite having nominal charges at hospital why do people go to doctors in private? There is something inherently wrong in our state that people despite having government hospitals and health clinics go to privately owned clinics? Why is that despite so much of onus placed on getting government jobs government run hospitals and primary health centres cannot meet the requirements of people?
All the faults cannot be laid on private practise. The job of a doctor is to treat patient not to overhaul the system. Still doctors are held responsible for all the mess. If a patient dies attendants would beat doctor. If the system has to show it works: target doctors. After all in a state where every administrator roams in white ambassador car along with a couple of gun wielding guards what is the worth of white apron?
There may be ban on the number of appointments in Kashmir but there should not be ban on doctor recruitments. Having more doctors means more innovation, more cure and better healthcare. But sadly doctors are treated as cattle. Brilliant minds are made to waste their years in knowing whether their contract has been extended or not. Even the paramedic staff taunt doctors on having low salary then them.
Working as an interne I am expected to be happy with the salary of a daily wager. But I cannot complain of not sleeping in night. Having 24 hours of non stop duty; attending patients of all hues sometimes one feels as if s/he is conductor of the bus. And when we try to sleep there is always intermittent knocks at the door and we donít shoo away attendants. We listen to them, walk with them attend the patient even if it is the work of paramedic. It is a series of these moments which we experience day night. We donít get roses or huge salary yet what we hear is total contrast. We are callous, rude, unjust, cruel, or simply not right. Maybe all this is necessary to understand people better, understand their suffering, widen our scope, learn how to help people heal and yet we donít have free morning and nights. Still do doctors complain? Do we have come in open to say that all this we do and yet we donít know where we will get our next meal?
We never say to people and administration that you are militaristic when you deal with us. You treat us as if we have no self respect. Still we take things in our stride and convince ourselves these moments will pass. We do nothing to resist them. Because under Hippocratic Oath we are supposed to take life of doctor as it is.
Have you ever seen any advertisements of working doctors anywhere be it in print or in electronic media? The answer is certain NO. Then how come people find the doctors? How do patients come to know which doctor is best without advertisement? Because it is the empathy of the doctors at hospital that makes people greedy to come to their clinic for more attention. They know in hospitals with huge rush and few doctors that attention span is less. Every patient wants better health care which s/he doesnít get in government hospitals. Whose fault is it? Because they know if they are asked to go for X ray or other tests one is not sure what will come out of it. The investigation facilities are simply not there. After all how many doctors are there in administration or in politics to understand what we need! And with all the filth around hospital it is a miracle that patients recuperate there. Yet the people at the helm of affairs would do nothing. They would blame doctors for that also.
It is inhuman to ask doctors to cater to all the patients. The doctor patient ratio is disappointing in Kashmir. Just check in health department website to understand what am I talking. Still it is the doctors who have to bear the brunt of anger from every side. During the last summer unrest it were we who saved so many precious lives with no fuss. Although beaten and humiliated many times on the roads we didnít duck. Our courage was under fire. A lot is being made of doctor salary but is it more than judges? A doctor must get higher salary from the start. Instead from the internship we are made to understand how important money is and if we have to survive we must go for dough.
By stopping private practice you are leaving field open for quacks. So many newspapers and magazines have come out with names and pictures of quacks yet the administration does nothing. These quacks do not operate from shanty places but from posh markets. Still administration far from trying to rise from slumber is now asking people to offer them a cup of warm milk before bed. If you doubt that go to private Ďhospitalsí of the Valley and see them. At best they can be called nursing homes yet the administration over the years gives them Ďhospitalí status with many of them not having oxygen cylinders. But in our part of the world social hierarchy sets the pre-eminence in deciding which solutions to the problems arrive on the operating table and which do not. So who is duping people first in the name of health care?
Let people have choice. If you want the betterment of people regulate the doctorís fee. And if a doctor is found abstaining from the duty and doing private practice deduce his salary. And I hope as an administrator you must have heard of community service punishment. That is much larger punishment. Donít muscle what you cannot control. Think of simple ways. Sometimes conventional thinking helps in diminishing the problem. Improve health care in hospitals. Donít show us the law book only on selective cases. Donít put doctors of Kupwara in Pulwama and vice versa. Already city has gone to dogs now donít let it go to wolves (quacks).
(Feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Lastupdate on : Fri, 25 Mar 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 25 Mar 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 26 Mar 2011 00:00:00 IST
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