Doctors to monitor situation in the coming days
Kozhikode: Long lines of patients were visible at the Institute of Maternal and Child Health (IMCH) and other departments at Government Medical College Hospital (MCH) here on Tuesday for out-patient (OP) consultations, but the MCH doctors were unsure if the sudden surge of patients was owing to the end of Ramzan or their decision to give up private practice.
As many as 591 persons sought OP treatment at the gynaecology-pregnancy wing of the IMCH, while more than 500 children were brought to the paediatrics OP there.
The week from September 15, when doctors gave up private practice, to September 21 saw an average of 290 patients seeking OP consultation at the gynaecology-paediatric wing, while the preceding week, from September 7 to 14, saw an average of 180 OP patients there. A similar trend in patient inflow was not visible at the paediatrics division of the IMCH.
The IMCH doctors say over 2,000 patients used to visit the 45-odd doctors at the institute a day at their private practices.
Until the sudden spike on September 22, there were no visible signs of these patients preferring to visit the MCH in the absence of the doctors’ private practice.
The IMCH doctors are keenly monitoring if the number of patients will continue to rise in the coming days. “We are expecting a majority of these 2,000 patients to approach private hospitals now. Along with the private practice ban, the government should improve facilities for patients and doctors’ working conditions,” an IMCH doctor said.
The Community Medicine Department also saw a spike in OP consultation, with 300 patients visiting the department. Doctors at the department are preparing to spend longer hours for OP consultations.
The Yuva Janata Dal State committee has asked the government how it plans to cut down the time pregnant women, children and others have to spend in queues in MCHs following the ban on private practice. The committee said a number of patients had already moved to private hospitals to continue their treatment, rather than wait in long lines.
It said Left Democratic Front (LDF) Ministers and their family members would choose to visit a private hospital rather than wait for OP consultation at a MCH.
The Bharatheeya Medical and Sales Representatives’ Association dubbed the ban on private practice a boon to private hospitals, as the move would lead to loss of experienced MCH doctors to the private sector.
The association reminded the government of the failure of a similar move in West Bengal and asked what improvements would be made to the MCH facilities, apart from banning private practice by doctors.