The poll comprises of three questions: Is government control necessary to curb unregulated functioning of private hospitals? Are concrete solutions required to improve the standard of government hospitals? And should Maharashtra government enact a law for protection of patients’ rights?
Jan Aarogya Abhiyan, a Pune based NGO has launched a ‘patients voice campaign’. As a part of the campaign, the NGO is planning to weigh people’s perception on the need to regulate private sector, on the condition of public hospitals and need to have laws for protection of patients.
The group is appealing citizens to vote for the health related rights and want people to go beyond just voting for elections as a part of their political right. The NGO is contacting different housing societies, different senior citizens forums and laughter clubs to carry out the poll. The results of the poll will be submitted to the Health Ministry and Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis.
The poll comprises of three questions which can be answered in yes or no format. The questions are: is government control necessary to curb unregulated functioning of private hospitals? Are concrete solutions required to improve the standard of government hospitals? And should Maharashtra government enact a law for protection of patients’ rights?
While Speaking to My Medical Mantra Dr Abhijit More, conveyor of Jan Aarogya Abhiyan, said, “We will make people aware about the current scenario pertaining to unregulated private section, poor public section and poorly protected patients’ rights. Residents of Pune will then vote on that and we will submit the results to the state government.”
He added, “In today’s day and age we see, there is no transparency when it comes to cost of medical treatment in different private hospitals. Also, there are no standard treatment guidelines for different treatments available for different ailments. Because of lack of standard treatment guidelines, patients are unnecessarily asked to do different tests and surgeries. There are many hospitals which are not registered and are unregulated.”
In 2014, the government had framed Maharashtra Clinical Establishment bill, in which the charter of patient’s rights was included. But the bill was never passed by the government. The health activists from the city want to make people aware on the same so that such kind of charter is made into an act.
Speaking on this, More said, “Maharashtra Medical Council is known for its delay in solving the grievances. Also they cannot take any action on hospitals when the question about right to privacy, right to information and right to dignity of patients under different circumstances is hampered.”
In some of the western countries, the concept of medical ombudsman is becoming popular. The NGO volunteers want it to become popular in Maharashtra too. They also want government to make a charter of patient’s rights.
Vinod Shende, a health activist working for the NGO, said, “Many posts in public hospitals are vacant. In rural areas, what doctors generally do is referring the patients to district hospitals. They cannot treat patients as there is poor infrastructure and insufficient manpower.”
Shende said that Maharashtra government is spending just 0.5 per cent of its GDP’s share on health and when it has even reduced it in this year’s budget allocation by around Rs 500 crore it is time for people to vote for their ‘good health’. Shende added, “We want people to become more aware on their health rights. We want civil society to lead.”
Niteen Pawar, Conveyor of Manual Workers Organisation Federation, said, “We will be making different labour organisations available for the poll. Health is our basic right. Earlier doctors were portrayed as God now they have become the villain.”