Health care in Mumbai is most expensive, when compared to other major cities, according to a new survey.
The survey, conducted by IMS Health care, a health care information provider, showed that the average consultation fee for doctors in Mumbai is higher by 20% compared to the rest of India.
In the case of super specialty doctors like nephrologists, it is 40% more.
“The high consultation fee could be because of high cost of living here,” said Amit Backliwal, managing director, IMS Health, South Asia. “Besides, doctors practicing in Mumbai are renowned and are like an established brand,” he said.
The survey, which conducted a census of physicians and chemists, also revealed that maternity and paediatric health care in Mumbai might suffer a setback because, as a percentage, fewer doctors in the city worked as gynaecologists and paediatricians.
Dr S Utture from the Indian Medical Association said the rise of five stars hospitals in the city had affected obstetric or child delivery care, as most hospitals feel maternal health care is economically unviable.
“Ultimately, it is a demand and supply situation; in Mumbai, the family norm is one to two children,” he said.
The census also found that the number of non-MBBS doctors practicing allopathy is twice as much as MBBS doctors in the city - 11% doctors in the census were MBBS general practitioners, 22% of all doctors covered in the census were non-MBBS doctors.
“We only counted those nonMBBS doctors who prescribed at least 40% of allopathic drugs,” said Backliwal.
Doctors said the trend was likely to rise as many MBBS graduates opt to study further instead of beginning practice.
gynaecologist from Chembur said the number of illegal nursing homes in the city has increased.
“Many quacks run nursing homes that are poorly equipped and have untrained staff,” she said.
“In poorer parts of the city, the last few years have seen an immense proliferation of such homes, which could have increased the deaths.”
Civic officials claim the steep rise in figures could be because more patients are coming to Mumbai from nearby regions.
“Nearly 50% of these deaths are likely to be of patients coming from other municipalities, who have been referred to our hospitals,” said a senior civic doctor, requesting anonymity.
“Postbirth hygiene and nutrition play a large role in preventing such deaths. The BMC has no control over these factors.”
“Our maternal death review committee investigates each death. The state will launch a programme soon to tackle this issue,” the doctor said.
Reducing maternal deaths is one of the millennium development goals of the World Health Organization.