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Scrutiny
  
Sell the house honey, I have a cold
There’s only so much that money can buy, for everything else, you have...
29/05/2008

It’s no more a hidden fact that around 40% of Indians, who live below the poverty line, cannot afford any kind of medical expense. Most Indians can anyway ill afford the high consulting fees, medicine cost and various hi-profile medical tests. A simple angiography to test artery blockage costs anywhere between Rs. 14,000 to Rs.1,25,000 depending on the hospital one goes to (most government hospitals do it for free, but with huge waiting lists). In their urge to make more money, most private hospital Indian doctors prescribe numerous medical tests, many clearly not required. Of course, the health ministry is in the process of framing clinical guidelines for doctors.

The guidelines will be framed after discussion with various stakeholders and will lay down suggestions for treatment, tests and medication. It is claimed that doctors will be free to choose their course of medication, but if the same is wrong, then doctors will be answerable. Sadly, not only can negligence and wrong treatment be easily handled by shrewd doctors who sign up contracts with patients before treatment begins, but worse is that these guidelines will be first implemented on public hospitals, and then on private ones. This is not to say that public hospital doctors are more efficient than private ones, but to implore that guidelines be applicable on all doctors, private or public, from day one!
It’s no more a hidden fact that around 40% of Indians, who live below the poverty line, cannot afford any kind of medical expense. Most Indians can anyway ill afford the high consulting fees, medicine cost and various hi-profile medical tests. A simple angiography to test artery blockage costs anywhere between Rs. 14,000 to Rs.1,25,000 depending on the hospital one goes to (most government hospitals do it for free, but with huge waiting lists). In their urge to make more money, most private hospital Indian doctors prescribe numerous medical tests, many clearly not required. Of course, the health ministry is in the process of framing clinical guidelines for doctors.

The guidelines will be framed after discussion with various stakeholders and will lay down suggestions for treatment, tests and medication. It is claimed that doctors will be free to choose their course of medication, but if the same is wrong, then doctors will be answerable. Sadly, not only can negligence and wrong treatment be easily handled by shrewd doctors who sign up contracts with patients before treatment begins, but worse is that these guidelines will be first implemented on public hospitals, and then on private ones. This is not to say that public hospital doctors are more efficient than private ones, but to implore that guidelines be applicable on all doctors, private or public, from day one!

By:- Sray Agarwal
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