Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

It is as shocking as surprising that government of Orissa has formulated a scheme that allows a Government Doctor to deny medical advice to a patient in a government hospital during working hours if he or she fails to pay a sum of money that equals a day’s earning of a worker against 8 hours of hard labour.

The scheme is styled as ‘Pay clinic Scheme’

Under this scheme, an outdoor patient is to deposit a sum of Rs.50/- for consulting a doctor in any of the medical colleges and government Hospitals. The concerned doctor is to get 50% of this amount when other members of the medical staff including the nurse and sweepers are to get 20%.

If the patient fails to pay this money, he is to know that he has no right to claim medical advice in the government hospital.

There are three medical colleges and around 400 Government Hospitals in Orissa. But, there are more than 400 registered private Clinics/ Nursing Homes besides unregistered corners for visiting doctors in all the medicine shops through out the state. In these private joints, all of the 4919 government doctors including medical college teachers indulge in private practice, notwithstanding their receiving non-practicing allowances in sumptuous sums.

The people of Orissa, worst sufferers as they are in health front, have always stressed that Govt. doctors be debarred from private practice. But the politico-bureaucratic nexus, whose palms the doctors usually grease, has never allowed this to happen.

Instead of compelling the doctors under its pay roll to pay proper attention to the patients, Orissa administration run by the nexus has come up with the scheme in question as the remedy!

The scheme is formulated, government asserts, to persuade government doctors to see patients in government hospitals on payment instead of seeing them in private clinics!

What a brilliant idea! And, what a great solution!