With an objective to rebuild trust between the doctors and patients, Poona Citizen Doctor Forum had arranged an interactive session between doctors and patients in Pune.
The diminishing trust between the doctors and patients has highlighted the need to promote practicing doctors to work rationally and ethically since years. On Saturday, the forum organised a session between doctors and representatives from citizens to encourage dialogue between patients and doctors.
The session discussed a series of issues, including the need for having a universal healthcare system, asymmetry of knowledge, inconvenience caused to patients and even doctors due to appointment timings not being followed and doubts about tests to be conducted among other issues.
Surekha Gade, a representative of Kagad Kacha Patra Kashtakaraised Panchayat (KKPKP) raised an issue regarding the delay in following the consultation timings by doctors.
Dr Vinay Kulkarni, a Dermatologist from the city, while answering her question said, “Doctors should have an organised appointment system and if a doctor is getting any other emergency, the hospital administration should inform patients. Also, in 60 per cent of these cases, patients do not follow the appointment date and timings.”
Dr Nitin Bhalagi, an Orthopaedic surgeon from the city, said that Indian doctors, compared to doctors in the West, are over working doctors as they are seeing far more patients than them. “Giving dates for appointments is a very tough task. Sometimes, we take more time than we may have thought. There can’t be any hard and fast rule and patients should show some consideration for us. Patients should understand that doctors are for patients,” added Bhalagi.
The issue of how many patients should a doctor see in a day was also raised. The doctors denied putting any limitations on the number of patients that they can see. Doctors said that it is the ‘expertise and experience’ that forces patients to see a particular doctor and so a cap on number of appointments in a day can’t be fixed.
Tanmay Kanitkar, a youth representative from Pariwartan organisation, expressed his concern over the lack of transparency with patients with respect to tests done for investigations. Dr Sulabha Borase, a Gynaecologist from Pune, said, “Sometimes, patients become too inquisitive. Also, medical education doesn’t teach about patient’s rights and communication skills.”
Doctors say that patients also, should be made aware on how to communicate with doctors. “Patients call at odd times and expect us to consult them on trivial things. They should understand that doctors are available on phone for emergencies,” said Kulkarni.
Dr Borase stated that many patients read about a particular disease on the Internet or test and raise many unnecessary queries. Hence, today doctors have to invest a lot of time and answer many such queries.
To help people find the right doctor, the Poona Citizen Doctor Forum, on Saturday, launched a search engine on their website – www.medimitra.org. The website encourages feedback from patients about doctors who are doing an ethical, rational medical practice and helps them to reach out to patients in need.