Eight out of 10 doctors feel that the laws that govern the practice of healthcare in India are outdated

MUMBAI: Eight out of 10 doctors feel that the laws that govern the practice of healthcare in India are outdated and an even higher majority feels that there are just too many laws and licences that are required to keep their practice going.

A group of nursing home owners are to meet state health minister Suresh Shetty soon as the licences of their nursing homes have not been renewed yet. At a time when a majority of nursing homes in the city are running illegally, a survey done among 297 doctors across specializations says that there are about 50 different laws that govern the practice of healthcare in India, which ultimately hinders their work.
The study which was done by Medscape India, a non-profit trust of doctors, revealed that 78% of doctors feel that many of the laws that govern medical practice are outdated. "Licences have to be procured by doctors running a nursing home every year. This is only one example. The doctors have to run from pillar to post to get renewal of licences and abide by other laws," said Dr Sanjay Vaidya, a cosmetic surgeon, who has his nursing home in Dadar.
The study also revealed that the concept of 'family doctor' has almost vanished from the Indian scenario and this too affects patients. These days, hardly any of the doctors want to stop after doing an MBBS and generally aim for a specialization.
Dr Lalit Kapoor from the Association of Medical Consultants, said that having a family doctor was a good practice. "The family doctors were the link between the patient and the super-specialist. The patient also paid less and there would be a better rapport between the doctor and the patient. Moreover, having a complete case history of the patient helped the family doctor in better diagnosis and treatment."

The doctors also feel a need for better government participation in medical education. Some 89% of doctors feel that expensive medical education because of the private medical colleges that have mushroomed all over the country is the root cause of many problems. "Private medical colleges are not only expensive, but the quality of the hands-on experience that the budding doctors get there is not so good. What we need is a better government participation in the medical education scenario in the country," said Dr Kapoor.

Dr Amar Jesani from the Center for Bioethics and Rights, said there are not enough laws governing the healthcare system in India. "Ours is a country where the healthcare system is governed by the private sector. And the private sector does not have too many laws to abide by. Most number of medical laws are in place in the US, and we definitely need many more laws so as to keep the doctors from exploiting the patients.


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