Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Private practice in Government Hospitals!

Don’t be astonished.

Government of Orissa has legalized it by enforcing ‘Pay Clinic Scheme’ in Government Hospitals.

As is reported in these pages earlier, the Scheme was postponed in view of massive mass opposition. But, the Government has refused to respect public opinion and has lunched the scheme on July 15 in S.C.B. Medical College Hospital at Cuttack.

Under the Scheme, as reported earlier, every non-surgery patient who comes to the Medical for urgent treatment during the afternoon shall have to pay Rs. 50.00 in order to get help of a specialist physician. The doctor and staff, save a minor amount towards ‘user fees’, shall take the money so collected as their ‘personal’ fees.

The amount may not be big for the rich, but for the poor, it is too heavy to bear. In Orissa, 90 percent working people earn less than Rupees one thousand a month, which means, they do not earn Rs.50 everyday. The lucky ones who get a job for a day earn at best this amount over eight hours’ drudgery. The Government never bothers to ensure availability of employment to any. Where from a poor person shall get money to pay this amount for a Government Doctor’s advice in a Government Hospital?

The Government confesses that the doctors, notwithstanding being gazetted officers from the very beginning of their career, do not pay attention to their duties in Hospitals as they fetch more money from private practice in private clinics. To make the Government Hospitals more alluring to them, the ‘Pay Clinics Scheme’ is being promulgated, the Government claims.

Government knows that only those doctors, who are in Government Hospitals, get profuse scope for private practice. The better the Government Hospital, the more is the scope for private practice. A doctor placed in a Sub-Divisional Hospital gets more private patients than one posted in a Primary Health Center. A doctor posted in a District Headquarters Hospital conducts more private practice than a doctor of a Sub-Divisional Hospital. A teacher in a Medical College cultrivates more private practice than any doctor in a district level Hospital. Not only this, a doctor in a better Medical College gets more private practice than his counterpart in an inferior Medical College. As for example a doctor posted in S.C.B.Medical College, Cuttack is consulted by more patients privately than his counterpart in Medical Colleges at Burla or Berhampur. Therefore there is always a rush for posting in S.C.B.M.C. It is open secret that posts are clandestinely auctioned. Instances are rampant that doctors posted to Burla or Berhampur in the Medical College sector exhibit reluctance to join there and often succeed in getting their posting order modified in favour of S.C.B.M.C. We have earlier discussed how peripheral doctors declared specialists in district level hospitals succeed in obtaining posting against “any vacant post” in Medical Colleges by greasing the palms of persons in power. This is because lucrative private practices become possible only if the concerned doctor is posted in a Government Hospital that is better than the rest.

This being the fact, any doctor who indulges in private practice could be tamed by a transfer to a less lucrative Hospital with provision of disciplinary action on his resentment to join in the new place of posting. This single action would be enough to eliminate private practices by Government Doctors and to ensure adequate medical care for the needy public.

But, instead of taking correctional steps, the State Government has legalized private practice by Government Doctors in Government Hospitals!

Do you wonder in what sort of hands the State has fallen?

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