SRINAGAR: To improve patient care in Jammu and Kashmir, the government is likely to ban the private practice of doctors in the Medical Colleges of Union Territory, an official privy to the development revealed.
The development comes close on the heels of recommendations of medical experts constituted on the directions of the High Court that had strongly advocated a blanket ban on private practice of doctors in J&K in the interest of patient care.
“We are well aware of the fact that private practice of senior and middle-rung doctors is taking a big hit to patient care across the UT. It is most likely that we will start with banning the private practice in medical colleges of the UT first. A meeting will be held to discuss the issue in a few days,” a senior officer in the Health department said.
Experts said that a large number of doctors despite getting handsome salaries still go for private practice and take the share of the unemployed doctors who neither have a place in Private nor in Government sector. “Those doctors are forced to leave for other states in search of jobs,” said an expert, wishing not to be named. “The teaching of MBBS students and the Postgraduate students by the faculty in the Medical Colleges of Jammu and Kashmir and the quality of patient care has deteriorated due to doctors’ main interest in private practice.”
Another expert pleading anonymity said that the patient care will improve only if the government announces a blanket ban on the private practice of doctors.
“Ban on the private practice by the doctors will encourage the establishment of Private clinics and corporate hospitals in rural areas of the union territory and shall play a great role in providing medical facilities to the patients in remote areas who otherwise have to run to cities for treatment,” he said.
He said that on an average, a doctor in GMC performs just two to three operations in a week and same doctor may do eight to ten operations in Private nursing homes in just a few hours. “There is mushrooming of private hospitals run by government doctors and more patients are treated at private hospitals nowadays,” the expert said. “By indulging in 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 to relax.”
Doctors association President Dr Nisar Ul Hassan told that private practice of doctors is definitely taking heavy toll on patient care, medical research and education.
“Most of our doctors spent their time in private hospitals and very less time is being given on medical education and research due to which we are unable to produce quality doctors,” he said. “Government doctor is government servant for all the 24 hours of the day and permitting private practice is bound to affect the discharge of official duties of government doctors.”
He said that it is ironic that full time government doctors are allowed to run private hospitals due to poor and underprivileged people are suffering who also deserve better care and can’t afford to go to private hospitals.
“There should be complete segregation of sectors like those who want to work in private sector, they should be allowed to go and new doctors should be recruited who will work only in medical colleges,” he said, adding that “doctors use government hospitals as recruiting grounds for their private practice and patients have to wait for months together to get their turn at government hospitals which delays treatment and they are forced to go to private clinics.”—(KNO)