Kerala

Health department may get a Vigilance wing

To monitor private practice by doctors, crack down on quackery

The State government is reportedly mulling over a proposal to set up a Vigilance wing in the Health Department. By some official accounts, a police officer is likely to head the unit.

Optimally, the Vigilance wing will detect private practice by medical education service doctors, crack down on quackery and unearth ethically dubious financial relationships, if any, between State doctors and diagnostic clinics, pharmacies and health care firms in the private sector.

It will also monitor health care advertising and flag false claims aired by health care companies to mass-market pharmaceutical and Ayurveda drugs without doctor’s prescription as off-the-shelf cures for a wide range of ailments.

The wing will also prosecute self-styled healers who exploit their influence in the social media to fuel unhealthy scepticism about government’s vaccination programmes and use their online heft to drum up resistance against the State’s efforts to prevent the spread of global viral outbreaks such as the Corona pandemic.

Two-year-old proposal

Principal Secretary, Health, Rajan Khobragade told The Hindu that the proposal was two years old. The directorate of health services has a Vigilance cell at the directorate-level.

“Most big departments, like the KSEB or the LSGD, have Vigilance cells to look into complaints. The medical community is a very sensitive one. However, still, there are occasions when more than an internal inquiry might be called for,” he said.

Plaints against doctors

He said there were complaints against doctors regarding the violation of private practice ban and matters involving medico-legal issues.

Mr. Khobragade said the proposed Vigilance cell would be under the Home Department and headed by a police officer. “However, in all medico-legal issues, domain inputs will be sought from the medical community itself,” he said.

Doctors’ response

The proposal appears not to have gone down well with the medical community. Many have objected to the government singling out doctors for intrusive vigilance inspections. Some felt the government has raked up the old proposal to arm-twist doctors against striking for wage revision. A senior doctor felt the timing of the move was suspicious as it comes at the fag end of the LDF’s term.

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Printable version | Mar 29, 2020 4:03:32 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/health-dept-may-get-a-vigilance-wing/article30778075.ece

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