Private practice takes heavy toll on patient care, Poor people worst sufferers: DAK
Srinagar, Feb 18 :
Days after the committee of medical experts constituted following the directions of J&K High Court recommended a blanket ban on private practice of doctors in medical colleges, civil society members are also of the opinion that the step would improve patient care in Jammu and Kashmir.
Abdul Qayoom Wani, chairman of the civil society forum while talking with the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) said that if the government really wants to make the health sector accountable and improve patient care, “then they must ban private practice of doctors at an earliest”.
“Doctors must be given due perks but they must not be allowed to do private practice and it is the poor patient who is suffering as financially sound people can avail any private hospital,” Wani said.
Wani said that poor patients have to wait for months together to get their turn for treatment and till then the condition of the patient deteriorates.
“Besides that the operation centre must function in every hospital 24×7 and senior doctors must remain available and hospitals shouldn’t be handed over to students after 4 pm,” he said.
Raja Muzzafar, senior RTI activist while talking with KNO said that private practice must be banned but salary of doctors must be increased.
He said that when doctors work in both sectors, they are unable to deliver well and at last poor patients are suffering.
He said that a large number of doctors in Jammu and Kashmir don’t have government jobs and neither have they got an opportunity to establish themselves in private hospitals.
“Many government doctors, despite getting handsome salaries, also engage in private practice, thus taking the share of the unemployed doctors who neither have a place in private nor in government set up. Ultimately, they are forced to leave for other states in search of a job,” Muzzafar said.
“By indulging in the private practice, the government doctors get overburdened and this definitely affects the quality of services provided to the patients as well as the mental and physical health of the doctors who don’t get enough time for themselves,” he said.
Sujaat Ahmad who has so far filed around 18 PILs in the court to impose ban on the private practice of doctors told KNO that doctors usually don’t reach to government hospitals on time due to their engagement with private clinics due to which poor patients are suffering.
“The matter is pending in the court and we are hopeful that private practice will be banned as public opinion is also of the same opinion,” he said.
He said that there can be such a mechanism by which we can give perks to doctors but private practice should be banned.
Sujaat said that he has witnessed that there is no private hospital in Leh as patients are being treated very well in government hospitals and that they don’t need to go to private clinics but cooperation of doctors and administration is must.
Dr Riyaz Ahmad Dava, spokesperson of Doctors Association of Kashmir told KNO that private practice of doctors is definitely taking a heavy toll on patient care, medical research and education.
“Most of our doctors spend their time in private hospitals and very less time is being given to medical education and research due to which we are unable to produce quality doctors,” he said. “Government doctors are government servants and permitting private practice is bound to affect the discharge of official duties of government doctors.”
“If private practice is banned, then an abrupt change can be seen. The number of jobs in medical institutions will simultaneously improve both the private and government sector, he said.
He said that the main reason for delay in surgeries in government hospitals is that these doctors don’t perform a required number of surgeries at a government facility.
“Doctors can perform ten operations at a private hospital but when it comes to the government hospitals, they hardly perform three operations even though the number of medical experts accompanying the doctor is higher in government hospitals than in a private one,” he added.
Dava said that if the government will ban private practice of doctors, the doctors are liable to enjoy benefits of NPA (non-practice allowance) which is currently being paid to doctors at SKIMS.
“Those doctors who will work in the government sector will also have an increment in the salary. No one will suffer because of this ban,” he said—(KNO)