For healthy private sector we need good clinicians who are dedicated to their cause, but nowadays by sailing in two boats we are losing both sectors
A debate on private practice is going on in the media. I want to clear some misconceptions raised by these stories and I will try to dispel them one by one.
Misconception 1: all doctors of SKIMS support private practice
Clarification: at present the total number of doctors (faculty and senior residents) is approximately 300 and out of them barely 20 are in favor of this issue
Misconception 2: 'The private healthcare system has not evolved in a big way here'
Clarification: For healthy private sector we need good clinicians who are dedicated to their cause, but nowadays by sailing in two boats we are losing both sectors
Misconception 3: 'Patients are being deprived to seek consultation from specialists'
Clarification: I can proudly say that in any OPD in SKIMS we always have a consultant (specialist) to look after patients and he leaves OPD only after all patients have been seen by him. So this clause is not correct. And if some doctor does not do his duty honestly he will not be representing whole community.
Misconception 4: "Kashmir is fast turning into a money minting center for specialist from outside the state"
Clarification: This to my utter sorrow is correct but the solution is not that we give license to government doctors to mint money. We can solve this issue by supporting and improving both public and government sectors
Misconception 5: Academics are going to suffer if private practice is not allowed???
Clarification: This is a weird notion, when a person is not taking interest in academics when he is full time working in hospital, how he can do so when he has private clinic on his head.
Misconception 6: "brain drain is going to occur"
Clarification: All said and done, if a well-trained brain needs more money due to his personal preferences than let him move to private sector as we have most of the consultants in Apollo, Max etc. who were working in AIIMS, PGI etc. This is a normal phenomenon which is occurring in IIT, IIM, AIIMS, and PGI etc. By the grace of Almighty Allah SKIMS is an institute more than three decades old and not a local dispensary where if some 'doctor sahib' leaves the place, the doors will be shut.
To conclude, for doctors private practice is all about earning more money and for patients it is getting treated with comfort. So let us respect both aspirations in legal way and not by legalizing private practice, which would be akin to legalizing corruption.
(The author is working as associate professor in the department of neurosurgery in SKIMS and can be contacted at email@example.com)