A recent hoarding in Mumbai which highlighted the issue of cut practice which was put up by the Asian Heart Institute has once again stirred up the controversy of cut practice in Indian healthcare system. While doctors from Pune oppose cut practice, they disapprove the idea of putting up hoardings in public domain.
At strategic locations in Mumbai a hoarding reads, ‘Honest Opinion. No commission to doctors.’ They were put by renowned cardiovascular thoracic surgeon Dr Ramakant Panda’s Asia Heart Institute.
Cut practice is a term given to exchange of commission for referring a patient.
“I am totally against cut practice. I do not give cuts and I do not demand cuts. And irrespective of whether you give or take cuts, the number of patients coming to you is going to remain the same. Some junior doctors are forced to give such cuts in the beginning of their career, but then even they should be patient and not succumb to this practice. But, putting up hoardings is not the way and it sounds like activism by doctors. Healthy debate and discussion should be encouraged to end this practice. We at Sahyadri hospital do not follow this practice at all,” said Dr Deepa Divekar, Paediatric Neurologist and Medical Director of Sahyadri Hospital, Pune.
Cut practice is commonly seen in pathologist and radiologist as they are dependent on other doctors to provide their services. Dr Ramesh Godbole, pathologist and Managing director of Godbole Pathology lab in Pune said, “There are very few path labs in Pune who are accredited by National Accreditation for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) in Pune. Now even a HSC pass person is opening a lab, appointing a technician and with marketing skills attracting people to get themselves treated. Many doctors do not want to follow cut practices but because of some of those who are following it are forced to do it. Cut practices are wrong. It is mostly seen in pathologist or radiologist as we give our services to other doctors.”
Shailesh Puntambekar, Medical Director of Galaxy Care Hospital, Pune, said, “I oppose cut practice. But this is an internal matter and the way of raising the issue by displaying hoardings is not correct. It is moral responsibility of doctor to follow best practice and not cut practice. Also, these kinds of practices are now seen in all the professions. For example, your interior designer would give commission to the plywood supplier etc.”
Dr Sanjay Pathere, Medical Director of Ruby Hall said, “Putting up hoardings in public domain is demoralising to doctors. By taking the issue to the public, it amounts to publicly demoralising doctors. Nobody supports this practice. But there are doctors who are practicing cut practice. Ruby Hospitals do not indulge in such practice and I do not think other major hospitals in the city indulge in such practice.”