On Private Medical Practice

On Private Medical Practice
  • 1

Private medical practice in Kashmir has come under the scanner and spotlight after three top notch doctors were found indulging in the practice by a sting operation by some TV channel. The doctors in contention were immediately suspended by the administration. While the reaction of the administration may or may not stem the tide of private practice in the field of the medical profession, the fact remains that there is a clear cut conflict of interest and even ethics when doctors who are publicly engaged indulge in this practice. The question is why? There are multiple reasons for taking recourse to this practice in Kashmir. One is that the salaries and emoluments that doctors who work in and for the administration are not enough. That is, there are survival issues for many doctors. But, this reason does not entirely hold. As doctors progress in their career paths and experience, their salary structure undergoes a corresponding increase. The other reason is pure and sheer ambition and greed. In this schema, many doctors take recourse to private practice not merely to augment and supplement their salaries but to make as much money as possible. Here the field is actually vastly open. People fall sick and they need medical attention and advice. But, given that the public infrastructure is not adequate enough and demand exceeds supply, so to speak, people have to seek medical advice elsewhere. They then go to doctors who indulge in private practice. These doctors therefore fill a need in society but the problem is that do not do this for the sake of public good and welfare but rather for their own financial and economic advancement. And, even in the domain of private practice, as is observed in clinics, they are remiss. In the process, while a societal need is fulfilled but the quality that is delivered is sub par. But, people have no choice. The question now is: how can the problem/ issue be obviated? The answer lies in the supply side, legal and ethical dimensions. In terms of the supply side, the administrations must increase and augment the extant public health infrastructure- both hard and soft to cater to the ever increasing demand. This must be complemented by stringent laws that make it difficult to indulge in private practice by raising its costs. But, in the final analysis, the eradication of this menace lies in the ethical and conscientious universes of doctors themselves. Unless and until they realize the unethical nature of private medical practice, other measures might not be enough.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.