February 15, 2020

Private Practice By Doctors: Justified Or unjustified?

Azad Hussain

A matchless profession, that most of the people have strived for years ,though achieved by least, and have desired it as “their aim in life” still evident on the tattered and weathered pages of every one’s childhood notebooks, is none other than the profession of a doctor. Undoubtedly, Doctor is a noble profession that people have a good regard for. This prestigious job is considered next to God profession” for the doctors serve the society by every means to save the precious lives of people. That is why a trend is being followed by most of the parents to remain desirous to see their children to excel in the field of medical science as good doctors. Excluding the fact that most of the aspirants from well off families make it to this profession by means of money, but as it is a life saving service and deals with the safety of human life “an exta-sensitive concern”, to achieve this prestigious profession in this competitive age demands burning of midnight oil from it’s aspirants. However a good doctor is not merely one being much efficient , who can treat the patients well in terms of his health. But There are so many qualities rather moral values a good doctor must have, in addition to his efficiency he must have the qualities like compassion, empathy, honesty and humanity. Doctor’s service is a privilege to serve the humanity as not only poorest of poor but richest of rich is in need of it too, that is why the young minds show more inclination towards it. No doubt the youngsters come up with straight forward vision with sincerely good ambitions to serve the people well with least desires for self-centred gains. But as soon as they come to this prestigious profession, most of them start changing their mindset by diverting it towards materialism, after looking on their seniors getting wealthier by every passing day by means of their private practice, despite taking handsome salaries in government service. In this way the aim to serve humanity gets transitioned into the aim to become sound in terms of money. Though to become wealthier is not a curse as every one wants to be so, but it should not be at the cost of ignoring primary duty, but should be in a justified and legalised way. However, nowadays a proposal of government is catching media attention that government is mulling to put a blanket ban on private practice by government doctors for various reasons from the government’s perspective to overcome the grim picture of health department. Now it is to be seen, if the government is really serious about it and if banned, would it really fetch any benefit to common people.
prior to directly jumping on to put a blanket ban on private practice, better it would be for government authorities to do a postmortem analysis on the loopholes in the department responsible for it’s grim picture, then to take measures to overcome them and to bring the doctors on table and listen to their grievances if any and seek out a workable solution to overcome all the shortcomings in health department, by mutual understanding in very cordial and friendly atmosphere.
On the other hand doctors too have their narrative which shouldn’t be ignored at all. “You should not go completely against the private practice of doctors as they can do it in their part time rather family time, a good doctor’s service is round the clock demand of people”, a representative of Doctors Association Kashmir ( DAK) while giving an interview in media was seen while saying that. And I as a layman completely agree with him till his statement holds true and holds any relevance. As long as doctors do justice with patients in either of the case, the finger should not point towards them. Some efficient well qualified doctors/surgeon specialists are more preferred, than other consultants belonging to same stream, by patients, that is why they face a huge rush and more work load while on duty as compared to their other counterparts in the same department, that is why they do private practice during their part time hours after their formal duty, is another opinion of some people. Though you can’t paint the performances of all doctors, with a same brush but there are some “not all” doctors who take a less care of their patients while attending them in government hospitals in order to get them at their private clinics which is obviously a curse and shouldn’t happen. In my opinion not private practice but such kind of malpractice by some doctors should be banned. Moreover it is not only the doctors who are responsible , there are so many good reasons why people feel unsatisfied in government hospitals and are approaching to private clinics and private hospitals which include less attention by doctors in government run hospitals, huge rush of patients there , late arrival of some doctors to their duties, deficit medical staff, lack of various health care facilities in government hospitals, non-availability of facility for various essential medical tests etc. for which the poorest section of society is at the most losing end, who couldn’t visit a private hospital or a private clinic, for their financial constraints. Health care facilities like that of high sophisticated medical equipments for accurate result oriented medical tests, proper bedding facility, hygienic environment and the other required infrastructure should be readily kept available for the purpose of its use in government hospitals and should be upgraded wherever needed. This will surely increase the standard of government hospitals. However the most important thing is the accountability of medical staff, which needs to be ensured on priority basis to utilise every available resource in the hospital for the benefit of needy. There are cases where patients claim that they are not given every good facility available in the hospitals for patients who are in need of that. At some places, despite having the facility available in government hospitals, the patients are asked to carry out every medical test in private, keeping the sophisticated machines inoperative, such things need to be looked up by authorities. In time arrival and on time departure of doctors is very important thing , this would keep a proper check on the wastage of time during duty hours by some doctors who use this precious time on their private clinics leaving the patients in government hospitals on God’s mercy. So prior to directly jumping on to put a blanket ban on private practice, better it would be for government authorities to do a postmortem analysis on the loopholes in the department responsible for it’s grim picture, then to take measures to overcome them and to bring the doctors on table and listen to their grievances if any and seek out a workable solution to overcome all the shortcomings in health department, by mutual understanding in very cordial and friendly atmosphere. And it would be also decided where is the need to ban the private practice and where not.
( The author is a freelancer and writes frequently for “Kashmir Horizon”. Views are his own, azadhussainganie9@gmail.com)

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