Yes, there is draught of ethics in the medical field. The all out commercialisation and privatisation of medical education had led us to the draught of ethics in the medical field. Rampant corruption and anti-health bill like New Medical Commission Bill abolishing the autonomous regulatory body Medical Council of India and New Health Policy 2016 are the live example of it. We must accept the reality that the corruption in the medical field is going under the nose of the government. It is accepted that if one is associated with the ruling party or ruling class in broader sense, he or she cannot be punished under any law. This corrupt bureaucracy is above the law as they have open protection from the government, may be of the centre or the state. Contrary to the above fact, if you are not associated to the ruling party or if one is not the ‘Yes Man’ of the government, he or she must be punished without any fault.
Now the incident of suspension of the Director and other doctors in the SKIMS, Soura have heated the headlines of the media during PDP and BJP rule. The so called chapter has come out from the sting operation done by a news channels and news papers. It showed that the doctors were involved in the private practices although they are taking NPA from the government. It seems like a joke that private news channels and news papers can easily do sting operation but the entire administration has been proved failed to catch such doctors who are doing private practices. The entire chapter has many loo falls as without any departmental inquiry, the doctors were suspended. It is said that these doctors have been punished as they are not allowing corruption in their departments or we can say that in broader sense that they are not the ‘Yes Man’ of the government. Only God knows the fact! As a concern citizen, I only expect free and fair inquire regarding the incident.
Whether it may be fact or not, but on paper and as per the constitution of the state we are living in the democratic set up means by the people, of the people and for the people. But unfortunately we are far from the democratic atmosphere and still mile to go to achieve democratic set up in real sense. The people of the country are nowhere in the entire administrative system. And that is why the time has to mark the burst out of the grievances of the common people again and again in entire land. With pain we have to accept the reality that we are failed too in pacifying or in handling of people’s outburst. The state of Jammu & Kashmir is a politically conflict zone having rampant corruption in all the departments. It is difficult for the common people to hold any officer accountable for either shrinking work or playing the game of passes the buck and transfer etc. in the state. Although the RTI Act is the weapon in the hand of common people to get transparent and accountable administration but we all know how it works and what difficulties the RTI activists have to face.
The state has the largest number people living below poverty line in the villages. The State and Central Government both have instituted several scheme and institutions for the benefit of the common poor people. The criterion is based on many parameters such as ownership of land and access to non-food items like education and health care etc. Here I want to note one more thing. The hard earned money of the common people come from the taxes are used more for the advertisements of the schemes rather than the implementations of the beneficial schemes.
Education and the health are the prime need of the people. And they are the most neglected field too. The government is shrinking from its responsibility of providing health and education to its own people. And the victims are the poor rural people. The rural health is in complete shambles due to National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) Programme, the centre Government mooted and the state government accepted a design of introducing a three and half year Bachelor of Rural Medicine &surgery diploma course running parallel to the existing 5 years MBBS course . The NRHM policy was brought by the previous UPA government. And the present government is following it with more efficiency. The NRHM is intended to train up large number of Doctors for the rural areas. Of course, there is an attempt to justify the heinous move. The governments and their ‘yes men’ were arguing that the fresh pass outs of the MBBS course refuse to accept the offers and work in villages, there always remains a dearth of Doctors for rural assignments on the medical service. And the present NMC Bill 2017 wanted to introduce a bridge course for the students other than MBBS, which would be equivalent to the MBBS. It is clear that policy makers and political leaders consider and look down village people as second class citizens as they are not able to provide money for better treatment.Such a despicable and condemnable outlook and attitude of the government even smacks of a colonial heritage. The Government is never serious in finding out a solution as hundreds of overstaying doctors are enjoying in capital cities. While in urban (cities) modern and well equipped privately run medical institutions are there where treatment cost is exorbitant and out of the reach of common people and the attitude towards patients is starkly commercial even in the case of emergency treatment or saving a patient’s life.
SKIMS Soura is a preimer institute of the state, but the institute is involved in a serious political interference as pick and choose method of appoint administrative posts.The institute is involved in corruption, deep- rooted nexus between bureaucrats and medical mafias, nepotism and frauds etc. The embezzlement of funds pertains to the missing of drugs and unethical medical practices are not new which has surfaced recently.The recent incidents of transferring its Director and mal practices in appointments, posting and transferring of the administrative staffs including medical, para medical staffs have badly affected its entire image of reputed medical institution.
It is a bitter reality that we are living in a system where poor and rich people are treated differently. So health and education like service sector which were counted as a noble profession in the past has become the field of investment for private business houses to gain profit. And this private business houses are running the government. The policy of GATT (General Agreement in Trade and Tariff) and GATS (General Agreement in Trade Services) are the example of it.
We have to come forward to save the medical ethics and have to stand with such medical professionals who are struggling hard to hold high the banner of medical ethics. Raising democratic voice of dissent of the common people is the only way to save these noble professions from profit hungry business houses.
(The author is Vice chairman and chief spokesperson of J&K RTI Foundation. Views are his own)