A few days after stirring a controversy over the issue of cut practice in the medical fraternity with a hoarding that read ‘No commission to Doctors’, Dr Ramakanta Panda, vice chairman and managing director of Asian heart institute, the man who initiated this debate, is now being supported by senior and eminent doctors from the healthcare fraternity. Doctor’s across medical fields have come forward to join hands, raising their voices in a chorus to put an end to ‘cut practice’.
My Medical Mantra, a news web portal dedicated to health, had first broken the story, when the Asian Heart Institute (AHI) had put out a hoarding near Mumbai airport.
Speaking on the issue of cut practice Dr Ramakanta Panda Vice chairman and managing director of AHI, said, “IMA has never taken any action against any of its members practicing cut practice all these years. They are protecting and encouraging them. But there are good doctors in IMA who are supporting us.”
Various associations of doctors, including Indian Medical Association (IMA) — the umbrella body of doctors practicing allopath and Association of Medical Consultants (AMC) had written a letter to AHI to withdraw the hoarding at the earliest. They said the hoarding will end up creating unnecessary phobia in the minds of patients and their families
Dr Panda further added, “Today about 70 to 80 per cent of doctors are indulging in the cut practice. A patient is never referred to the best doctor, but refereed to the doctor who pays more money. A poor patient undergoes a lot of additional and unnecessary investigations.”
While AHI maintains that their initiative is not against the doctors, but to put an end on the corrupt practice, Dr Panda said, AHI will soon launch a website on doctors who are practicing ethically in the country.
Speaking to the press Dr Vijay D’silva Medical Director of AHI said, “Large number of doctors are indulging in this cut practice, but not by choice. They are doing it out of the compulsion. If they don’t do it then, they will not survive in the system. Half of the doctors who are doing this commission practice, don’t want to do it, but they have been forced to do so”
Dr D’silva further added, “Asian Heart Institute has taken an initiative, to start a debate on this subject. We hope something positive will come out of this. As expected, we are facing opposition from some quarters, but patients and doctors are with us”
Dr Gautam Sen, former member of medical council of India, the apex body of the medical fraternity said, “I must congratulate the Asian Heart Institute for coming out in public and saying ‘No commission to Doctors”.
“We all are concerned about the way things are moving. Over the period of time we have seen that gradually society has lost the confidence in the medical profession. One should give good service at a reasonable cost, and not profiteering. We must do business but in an ethical way, added Dr Sen.
Earlier the Asian Heart Institute (AHI) had written a letter to the Maharashtra Medical Council. In the letter dated June 14, AHI had appealed to the council to aggressively pursue and eliminate this unethical practice.
Meanwhile speaking on the cut practice issue, Tamara B. , an Australian physiotherapist practicing in Mumbai for last 10 years said, “When I had come to Mumbai, many people advised me to practice within the cut practice regime. They suggested this is the only way I could survive, but I chose not to practice it as it was unethical. Now I have a small but successful practice,”.
Cut practice was introduced four decades back, this is absolutely unethical and is a form of corruption. “Big corporates had started this commission practice, to get more business, and patients are facing the burden, said Dr D’silva.
A fortnight ago, Asian Heart Institute, one of the leading heart hospitals in Mumbai had put out a hording at various places in Mumbai, with a caption ‘No commission to Doctors’. AHI’s move had steered a huge controversy and debate amongst the medical fraternity.
In order to curb the cut practice, Maharashtra government is also mulling to come up with a law against the cut practice. States Medical Education Minister Girish Mahajan has set up a committee under the chairmanship of former DG Maharashtra Pravin Dixit to see the viability of the proposed law against the cut practices.