Doctors should focus on giving quality service to patients, Health Minister Adoor Prakash has said.

Formally inaugurating the first palliative medicine clinic started by the department of community medicine at the Medical College Hospital (MCH) here on Monday, Mr. Prakash said that compassion should mark the relationship between a doctor and a patient.

The Minister, however, referring to the recent incident of violence against doctors at MCH, pointed out that he certainly had no compassion for people who took to assaulting doctors for situations which the doctor had no control. He said he had given instructions to the police to take strict action against the offenders in the assault incident.

M.R. Rajagopal, chairman of Pallium India, who has been spearheading a silent revolution in palliative care in the State, said that while the palliative movement had grown by leaps and bounds, the State should improve the quality of care offered to palliative care patients.

The palliative movement should go hand in hand with the existing health system so that it had better reach and accessibility, Dr. Rajagopal said.

The first palliative clinic at MCH, which had been launched on a trial basis at the community medicine department in February, is now functioning as a full-fledged unit, even though the department is still struggling with various logistics issues.

A palliative care clinic at MCH is necessary as no patient will go in search of pain relief unless it is offered as part of their treatment at MCH itself.

At present, with the exception of the Regional Cancer Centre (RCC), palliative clinics are not run in any government hospitals in the city. The RCC patients are all in-house cancer patients. However, there are hundreds of people who are bed-ridden and who are living with excruciating pain because of spine injuries or other debilitating chronic problems, with no access to pain relief.

The community medicine department is being aided by Pallium India in its efforts to create a core team of doctors and nurses trained in palliative medicine. At present, the department is running a three-day clinic, which functions from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

The OP is attended by at least eight to 12 patients on the clinic days and most of the patients are those referred from other MCH departments like radiotherapy.

“We are in no condition to run IP clinics, given our current staff pattern and issues of space crunch. We will, however, like to do more in the field, by getting together medical students.

For this, we need a vehicle, regular supply of medicines, and adequate number of trained volunteers,” a senior doctor said.

Now that the clinic has been formally inaugurated, the government will ensure a smooth supply of morphine and other analgesic tablets and facilitate field visits.