Private Practices of Government Doctors: a situational necessity?

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Government Doctors

India is the second most inhabited country in the world. According to the 2017 revision of the World Population, the population stood at 1,324,171,354. India‘s constitution promises free healthcare for its citizens and all of the government hospitals are required to provide free healthcare services to the patients. Most of the districts in every state throughout India has one or more government hospitals where diagnosis and medication are given for free but the private healthcare sector is responsible for the majority of healthcare services in India. Most of the healthcare payments are done in cash by patients and their families, rather than through insurance.

If compared with the rest of the world India has less than one doctor for every 1000 population which is less than the World Health Organization standard. Although there are a total 10, 22,859 allopathic doctors registered with the state medical council it is estimated that around 8.18 lakh doctors may actually be available for service. It gives a doctor-population ratio of 0.62:1000 as per current population which is estimated to be of around 1.33 billion.

The WHO prescribes a doctor-population ratio of 1:1000 and as per the information provided by Medical Council of India, there are a total 9, 88,922 allopathic doctors registered with the state medical council as on June 30, 2016.

 

The Indian Health sector is dived into urban and rural healthcare models under which the rural health care centers are often deprived of contemporary medicines and surgical interventions. There are many NGOs that worked with the government in the past to evaluate and motivate the rural population towards modern medicine nut due to non-availability of diagnostic tools and increasing reluctance of qualified and experienced healthcare professionals to practice in under-equipped and monetarily less profitable rural areas often reports an absence of authoritatively appointed doctors from such centers. Most Primary health care center in the remote areas doesn’t function as 24 hourly operating units. This ignorance and mishandling, as well as limitation of basic amenities at these center, diverts a major number of rural population towards the government operated hospitals in cities where similar issues are encountered and thus eventually drifts towards privately functioning nursing homes and hospitals for better attention. A major number of government-aided hospitals lack maintenance.

This incongruity in our health care policy has created loopholes and many quacks rose to fame due to this condition and are pursued by residents of rural areas as they are more financially affordable and physically accessible than the practitioners working in the public or private healthcare sectors in the cities. However, the majority of the populations is still unaware of the fact that’s such private rural setups or even urban setup are mostly unregistered and the credential of the enlisted doctors working in these setups are counterfeit.

The former medical practitioners of many reputed public health and research centers have established their independent practices citing various reasons. Patients are eventually attracted to these centers effortlessly as an effect of various marketing strategies. Many public health professionals are seen practicing in their individual setups under pseudonyms. The government offers nonpracticing allowances yet the private practice is observed as collective inclination among Doctors. Private trauma centers, emergency hospitals, specialty center for orthopedics, gynae and obstetrics are at the surge in suburban areas and their many clinics that have to function on high scales in the cities. So question is that why so many doctors from public sectors run their private clinics and why despite many restrictions and scrutiny there is a constant upwelling in their quantity? And why still India has less than one doctor for every 1000 population?

 

Doctors and their individual morality have reformed a lot, somewhere hypocrite’s oath is a meager decorum and the yearning to create money and to carve a niche in terms of fame has stirred a competition amongst practitioners as well various corporates giants. This grim reality has taken an uglier turn and in past decade and from one end the medicinal discoveries escalated meanwhile the quality of people practicing these medicines saw a plunge. Pharmaceutical companies working in India have an advantage as Indian patent law only protects formulation and not the composition of a drug. the maximum retail price at the store is way too high than its actual cost, the companies indirectly offers many perks to the practitioners and this causes a systemic chain reaction in which money Is rotated in uncountable numbers. Indian pharmaceutical industry ranks third in the world in terms of volume and fourteenth in terms of value.

The stakes get higher every year and the lack of government health insurance and assurance from the health centers only adds fuel to the fire. The private practitioners and corporate hospitals don’t prescribe generic medicines and the lack of generic medicines at the government centers has created issues of medical negligence. Female feticides, organ trade and many other scandals have been uncovered in recent times and many practitioners have lost their license and many are still out their undetected. It’s like a gangrenous wound that needs to be operated now and the liberty of the laws to practice should be reformed and many other regulations which can help to monitor the practices at every level in the society should now be implemented.

 

A recent amendment that faced a lot of protest by the practitioners from several states and the national association was regarding the introduction of a review examinations for practitioners all over India. It’s still under wraps and it’s doubtful whether it will see a green light. Unlike other developed nations our health sector is liberal and this needs to change. Being number one in the world for immoral reasons should not be our goal at all. Let’s accept the imperfections and an optimistic step to mend this situation can really make a difference.