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Doctors’ Day: High treatment cost, lack of redressal mechanism fracture trust between doctors and patients

Early last year, resident doctors from across the state, including those from Sassoon General Hospital, went on leave to protest against the attack on doctors.

pune Updated: Jul 01, 2018 16:57 IST
Jui Dharwadkar
Jui Dharwadkar
Hindustan Times, Pune
Doctors’ Day,High treatment cost,lack of redressal mechanism
Dr Gadre emphasised that considering the rise in cost of treatment in the private sector it is expected that the public healthcare system should provide a stronger option for residents. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Incidents like attack on doctors and hospital vandalism have been on the rise. Rise in treatment cost and lack of a proper redressal mechanism has, in fact, widened the gap between doctors and patients leading to such incidents.

Early last year, resident doctors from across the state, including those from Sassoon General Hospital, went on leave to protest against the attack on doctors. On the occasion of National Doctors’ Day observed on July 1, city-based doctors share their views on the reasons behind the patient’s lack of trust on the medical system and possible measures to help address the issue.

Speaking about the issue, Prakash Marathe, former president of Indian Medical Association (IMA), Pune, said, “Earlier, there were many diseases with no cure, and hence, expectations from doctors were comparatively less. Today, with advancement in technology, there is a possibility of curing most diseases. Hence, family members of patients expect the doctors to give them a positive output. If in any case the patient dies, then the reaction from the family is very negative, and many a times it is distrust.”

Marathe added that apart from this, with new technologies, the cost of treatment is also increasing. “Incase of a patient’s death, the family suffers on an emotional as well as financial level, resulting in anger over doctors and even rising distrust,” said Marathe.

Sharing his views, Dr Arun Gadre, member of the Poona citizen doctor forum (PCDF) which is working towards rebuilding trust between public and doctors and promote ethical medical practice, said, “We lack a concrete redressal mechanism where patients can put forth their complaints and hope for a proper enquiry. Due to this, even if the doctor is right, it is never established and the trust deficit grows. Also, with rising corporatisation, the patient is no more at the centre of the healthcare system, and the pressure is more on generating profits. This is adding to the woes of patients as the cost of treatment begins to grow.”

Dr Gadre emphasised that considering the rise in cost of treatment in the private sector it is expected that the public healthcare system should provide a stronger option for residents. However, such a system is lacking, he added.

“Simultaneously, there is passive privatisation happening in the healthcare sector which is also increasing the treatment cost and further widening the gap between patients and doctors,” said Dr Gadre.

He added that in this process even those doctors who are practising ethically are suffering. Dr Gadre said that having a redressal mechanism and more government hospitals could, to some extent, address the issue.

Advocate Chetan Gandhi, director, PM Shah foundation, said, “Hospitals run by the government are often overloaded, and many a times unable to meet basic requirement of patients. Private hospitals are tagged under the name of commercialisation, and there is no proper communication between the doctors and the patient’s family members which later leads to violence against the former.”

Manoj Nikam, a patient, said, “The trust that patients should have on doctors is definitely going down. Incase of emergencies, the patient’s family does not know whether to trust the doctor or not. It is also not always feasible to take opinions from other doctors. Hence, having a more transparent system of deciding the cost of treatment along with a redressal mechanism would help patients.”

Omkar Shah, another patient, shared similar views. “Earlier, there was one family doctor. Now, there is a specialist for every other illness. Also, bigger government hospitals, like Sassoon, are very few due to which most of the patients are forced to go to private hospitals. The issue of increasing cost of medical treatment which is at the root of everything can be addressed if there are more government hospitals giving quality medical care,” he added.

First Published: Jul 01, 2018 16:20 IST