The government recently issued an order directing the doctors and para-medical staff in government hospitals to restrain from doing private practice during duty hours, and warned of strict action in case of any violation. This is a good move, based on good intention and needs to be implemented strictly.
But, it is also a fact that this is not the first order of its kind. Such orders were issued several times in past also, and implemented for some time, violated thereafter. It should not happen this time. It is being alleged that some doctors, who are not permitted to do private practice even during off-duty hours, also indulge in the malpractice.
Raids on some of the private clinics of doctors in past could not send a strong signal across for long. Those at the helm of affairs need to dig deep to find out why such orders become ineffective with the passage of time. One of the reasons can be that the process against violators is not taken to its logical conclusion.
Second, that there can be problems within the functioning of the system in government hospitals forcing most patients to visit private clinics. These problems need to be jointly identified and addressed by the hospital administration and the higher ups in health and medical education department.
The proper management of dealing with the huge rush of patients particularly in Out-Patient Department (OPD) in major hospitals can be of great help. More counters need to be opened for issuing OPD tickets. Patients have to wait for hours in long queues to get an OPD ticket. When the patient finally reaches the OPD, he or she has to again wait in a long queue for a very long time for meeting the doctor. Sometimes, it happens in winter or autumn, the patients from far off places leave Srinagar hospitals without a medical check up by a doctor fearing that they will get late and may not able to get public transport to reach home. The strength of doctors need to be increased in OPDs to overcome such a problem. There is already shortage of doctors in wards and emergency services also in major hospitals in the valley. The interns, junior residents and residents have to bear the brunt of the workload. They say sometimes their working hours stretch to 36 hours affecting their working efficiency. The workload has to be reduced by recruiting more doctors for better quantitative and qualitative healthcare in government hospitals. Better working conditions in government hospitals can encourage the patients not to unnecessarily visit private clinics and private hospitals.