oppn parties Bengal Cracks Down On Private Hospitals

News Snippets

  • Centre sanctions Rs 15000cr for Covid19 emergency response, part of it immediately and the rest over a period of four years in mission mode
  • RBI says Covid-19 has "drastically altered" the growth outlook in India
  • Third coronavirus death in the Dharavi slum in Mumbai
  • Odisha becomes the first state to extend the lockdown until April 30. Schools and colleges in the state to remain closed until June 17th
  • The Supreme Court orders all coronavirus testing, including by private labs, to be done for free, says will look into the matter of reimbursement for private players at a later date
  • Former Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Akhtar proposes an Indo-Pak ODI series to raise funds for fighting coronavirus
  • Maharashtra government says many Tablighi Jamaat members who attended the Markaz and returned have gone into hiding
  • West Bengal government identifies hotspots in Kolkata and the rest of the state, inclined to extend the lockdown in those places only
  • Prime Minister Modi holds a video conference with floor leaders of opposition parties, hints at extending the lockdown
  • UP seals hotspots and makes masks mandatory
  • Masks made compulsory in Mumbai, violators will be arrested
  • ICMR says an infected person can infect 406 people in 30 days without social distancing and lockdown
  • Stock markets make a smart recovery. Sensex up by record 2476 points on global cues
  • Schools, colleges and shopping malls likely to remain closed for a further period of one month, says empowered group of ministers
  • PM Modi tells BJP workers that India is in for a long battle against the coronavirus and there is no scope to feel tired or defeated
Total Covid-19 cases rise to 5734 on Thursday and the death toll stands at 166, says the health ministry in its daily briefing
oppn parties
Bengal Cracks Down On Private Hospitals

By Anukriti Roy
First publised on 2017-02-28 18:40:12

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Anukriti is a student who dabbles in writing when she finds time.
The West Bengal chief minister has declared an all-out war against private hospitals in the state, accusing them of fleecing patients in various ways. In a meeting held with the management of major private healthcare providers, she warned them against overbilling, conducting unnecessary tests and surgeries or indulging in other unfair practices.

Kolkata is the hub for healthcare for the entire region, including the north-eastern states, Bangladesh and Bhutan. This ensures a steady inflow of patients to these hospitals and they are working beyond capacity. Despite this, a good many of them cut all kinds of corners to provide poor service and their charges are patently uncompetitive. But there seems to be an unofficial cartel and all hospitals have kept high charges. A lot of complaints have been made to the government which has now taken action.

It is true that people with means do not mind paying top money for healthcare. But they expect services commensurate with the charges. There is no transparency in any private hospital in the state. Patient families are not taken into confidence and most things are done by the doctors and the hospital themselves. All kind of forms are required to be signed at the time of admission and additional forms can be given at any point of time and must be signed without protest. No hospital staff clearly informs the patient condition or the procedure being followed to treat him despite enquiries. It is as if once the patient is admitted, the duty of the family is restricted to making payments on demand and signing forms.

This has resulted in vandalism at a few hospitals, with families of patients alleging negligence on the part of hospital authorities in causing death to their kin. The main reason for this is that hospitals are not transparent in disclosing patient conditions to their families. The hospitals on their part say that families of patients are very nosey and disturb at all times, hampering routine services. A balance needs to be arrived at whereby hospitals can be made to issue medical bulletins for all patients every day at a set time. In critical cases, this can be done more than once a day. But one is not sure whether hospitals, given as they are to their profit increasing ways, will agree to issue anything in writing.

But one is sure that Mamata BanerjeeÂ’s action will prod the hospitals in cleaning up their act. Rumours abound of private hospitals fixing a quota for their resident doctors to conduct an X number of tests on patients if they want to remain employed. Liberal bonuses are offered to those who fulfill their quotas. Also, all hospitals have now started in-house pharmacies. They sell medicine at full prices. The same medicines are available in pharmacy chains or stand alone stores at over 15% discount. Not all medicines billed to a patient are used and the family has no way to find out the actual usage but has to pay for what is billed. Patients are kept for more days than necessary on various pretexts and needless procedures are billed for. This is the racket that Mamata wants to smash and she needs to be supported.