IMA pulls up Central Government for Supporting Corporate Hospitals

The body votes against Govt’s bid to hand over primary health to Ayush  

IMA pulls up Central Government for Supporting Corporate Hospitals

New Delhi, July 27: IMA, apex trade union of allopathic doctors, has taken strident positions against NDA’s government at the centre. During 2 day family medicine conference ICON 2015, it directly alleged that central government is increasingly veering towards supporting corporate hospitals. The body has also warned about dire consequences of handing over the primary healthcare to Ayush (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unnani, Siddha and Homeopathy) system of medicines).

For two days starting from July 25, over 500 family physicians from all over the country deliberated on the need of reviving family medicine system to save 70 percent of people from unnecessarily being fleeced by corporate hospitals. In a press conference on the sidelines of ICON 2015,  Padma Shri Awardee, Dr A Marthanda Pillai, National President, Indian Medical Association (IMA), minced no words saying that central government’s policies are increasingly headed towards weakening family medicine and supporting corporate hospitals and pushing the hoi polloi at the mercy of corporate hospitals.

It also surfaced in the conference that IMA is locked in a turf war with Ayush sytem of medicines. In one of the question –answer sessions, Dr S Arulrhaj, Chief Patron, IMA College of General Practitioners (IMACGP) invoked a voice vote saying primary healthcare is finally going to Ayush. To his question, do you approve, he got a resounding ‘No’.

Dr. Pillai said, ‘By reducing the public health expenditure, the incumbent central government has made situation all the worse for the survival of family physicians. Due to many adversarial laws, rules and regulations and increasingly drying finances, single doctor clinics and small clinical establishments are closing down, leaving masses no choice but to be a sitting duck for corporate hospitals. Clinical establishment Act will also be counterproductive to family medicine ’

He further said, ‘If the government wants to provide affordable and quality healthcare to the masses the right way would be for it to strengthen family medicine by helping single doctor clinic and small medical establishment by reducing taxes and other means. If there could be government aided private schools and colleges, why can’t there be government aided private clinics and hospitals?’

Referring to Britain’s National Health Service as the best healthcare system in the world, where 80 percent treatment need is met in primary health centers and only 20 percent need to go to tertiary hospitals, Dr. Pillai said, ‘ strengthening primary health centers is the need of the hour in India but central government’s policies are increasingly moving away from it. In India too, over 70 percent people need not go to beyond primary healthcare but only 20 percent need to go to corporate hospitals.’

Dr. Pillai also warned about the central government’s move towards handing over primary healthcare to Ayush system. He warned that 70 percent preventable diseases may get worsened in the hands of Ayush doctors. The common tune against Ayush among family physicians gathered for ICON2015 was that they have no objection to Ayush doctors practicing their own pathies but giving them right to prescribe allopathic medicines will be disastrous. The apprehension of Ayush being given the right to practice allopathy was palpable in the crowd.   Inaugurating ICON 2015,  Dr Pilla said, ‘Family Physicians are the backbone of the society. The recent proposal of the Government to increase the number of medical postgraduate seats and making them equal to MBBS seats will only harm the society in the long run. We need more family physicians, not specialists. If the Govt. wants to increase the number of postgraduate seats, they should do so in the field of Family Medicine.’

Addressing the gathering Padma Shri Awardee, Dr K K Aggarwal, Honorary Secretary General, IMA said, ‘IMA is in process of coming out with guidelines regarding a family practitioner relationship with a family.’ General practitioners should adopt families and provide them comprehensive care, he further added.

 Dr Ketan Desai Oration, Dr S Arulrhaj, Chief Patron, IMA College of General Practitioners (IMACGP) said that a specialist consultation is not required for more than 90% of the illnesses. A family physician is able to take care of the same. In a joint statement Dr E Prabhavathy, Dean, IMACGP and Dr V K Monga, Dean-Elect, IMACGP said that small medical establishments owned by IMA members should provide cost-effective treatment and care to the society.

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