GUWAHATI, July 15 - The Assam Branch of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has urged for a congenial service environment for the doctors in the State.
The IMA State branch has expressed great concern over the growing negative attitude towards the doctor community in all spheres of the society, the Government and the media. Doctors are finding it difficult these days to offer their services, mostly in the periphery and rural areas, in the face of the newly defined doctor-patient relationship, a number of legislations restricting medical practice and service, and, also because of the general mistrust that has crept into the society at large, the IMA State branch said in a statement jointly issued by its president Dr H Adhikary and secretary Dr Satyajit Borah.
On almost every incidence of death and complication there is a rapidly growing tendency of blaming the treating doctor of negligence. The lonely physician, sometime working in a remote area, being abused, assaulted and the healthcare premises being vandalized and the media reporting the incident hurriedly without bothering to present the views of the doctor and implicating him/her of negligence and inefficiency, has virtually become the order of the day. Even if the physician comes out innocent in the long run, the damage caused by reporting such incidents in such a manner cannot be reversed, said the IMA branch.
Now there is a growing tendency not only to accuse doctors but to demand cancelling registration of a doctor immediately after such an incidence. Lately, even the Government has threatened doctors of cancelling registration for not obeying Government orders. IMA is for full discipline in service and demands punishment to erring doctors under the service rule. However, amputating the physician of the hard-earned licence to practice on such issues can never be accepted. De-licensing is reserved for gross professional negligence or misconduct, it said.
The situation has led to such a state that even the reputed and sincere doctor is today scared of treating a serious patient. These days, doctors are scared to go to far-flung rural areas to serve. This perhaps is not going to help the cause of the patients and their relatives.
It perhaps needs no mention here that the country has a severe dearth of doctors to the extent that the Government has to extend the retiring age of doctors.
While the rural population is staring eagerly at the Government for introducing better healthcare services, the reverse is seen to be happening. For any welcome change to occur in the public healthcare sector, the Government has no way left to it but to attract more and more doctors by making the rural health service more doctor-friendly, attractive and appealing, it said.
Admitting the fact that in recent years doctors have also become more city-centric and are reluctant to serve in rural or even semi-urban areas, it has made an earnest appeal to the new State Government to improve infrastructure of the health centres, Government hospitals and medical colleges.
Besides, steps should also be taken to create a dedicated efficient maintenance team to look into the upkeep of these places; create a specialist cadre, improve security of these places so that doctors are not assaulted or harassed and to offer financial, academic and familial incentives to specially the rural service holders.
With all such steps, it is expected that the Government would be able to see doctors making a bee line to join such an elite service, said the IMA State branch.