A day after stirring a controversy on cut practice in healthcare by putting up hoardings at strategic locations across Mumbai, Asian Heart Institute (AHI) has decided not to bow down to medical fraternity’s pressure of pulling down the hoardings.
Speaking to My Medical Mantra, Padma Bhushan Dr Ramakanta Panda, who is also the Vice Chairman and Managing Director of AHI, said the doctors who are criticising this move are the ones who support the practice of commission. “We have received calls asking us to pull down the hoardings, but there are many doctors who have welcomed our stand. We have decided not to give in. The hoardings will stay on in support of young doctors, who face the menace of cut practice regularly,” he emphasised.
The renowned cardio-thoracic surgeon said AHI decided to put the hoardings so that the medical fraternity wakes up to this evil practice. “Any young doctor, who is starting his career, has to face the evil practice of cut practice before they start getting patients. Radiologists and pathologists trying to set up their own clinic too come across this practice. Many private hospitals are actively participating in giving commissions for patient referral,” he said.
Dr Panda added that by putting up the hoardings in public spaces, AHI wants to start a debate and put an end to this practice.
The practice of ‘giving commission to get patients’ by doctors and hospitals in India has been cited in various international medical journals. Dr Himmatrao Bawaskar, a Mahad-based doctor had filed a complaint against a private diagnostic laboratory on cut practice with the Maharashtra Medical Council in 2014.
This issue was again discussed in Dr Bawaskar’s article in the ‘Lancet’ and Dr Samiran Nundy’s article in the ‘British Medical Journal’.
A section of the medical fraternity is, however, upset with the AHI’s move. It said this will widen the existing gap between doctors and patients instead of solving the problem.
Indian Medical Association, the umbrella body of allopathy doctors, has shot a letter to AHI asking them to remove the hoarding at the earliest. Some doctors said the hoarding will end up creating unnecessary phobia in the minds of patients and their families.
“Most doctors strongly oppose the any wrong practices like ‘commission’ in healthcare but putting up a hoarding on the same for commercial and personal gain is not an ethical approach. It is a marketing gimmick where a corporate Hospital is highlighting the wrong doings of few greedy individuals or organisations and not all doctors,”. Such hoarding will end up creating unnecessary doubts and phobia in the minds of patients and his/her family leading to deterioration of doctor patient relationship which is cornerstone of efficient healthcare services,” said Dr Mukesh Gupta, vice president of association of medical consultants.