Wednesday, December 13, 2017
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Opinion » Editorials

Posted at: Dec 8, 2017, 12:40 AM; last updated: Dec 8, 2017, 12:40 AM (IST)

Profiteering privately

Public servants must use government hospitals
Profiteering privately
AFTER a probe, the Haryana Government has decided to lodge an FIR against a Gurugram-based private hospital for profiteering and unethical practices: it was charging up to 1,730 per cent more on certain medicines and consumables. Even five-star hotels envy such profits. No wonder, private hospitals are extremely profitable business ventures. Although, they claim that the hefty charges are meant for extraordinary services and medical care; the ground reality is different: A private hospital in Delhi wrongly declared one of the newborn twins dead. Similarly, another private hospital in the Capital’s Patparganj was found making over 500 per cent profits on the sale of disposable syringes and other products.

Such horror tales from hospitals in metros often make catchy  headlines because of their location. For each such incident in a metros, there are millions of stand-alone private hospitals in small towns where medical negligence and overcharging are routine. These rarely attract public scrutiny and the glare of national media. Profitable private hospitals have mushroomed across the country and fleece gullible people. Even citizens of modest means, particularly uninsured farmers, rush to private hospitals to ensure best treatment. In the process they often fall in a debt trap. 

The fact is that but for some institutions like AIIMS and PGI, most government hospitals are shabbily administered. MPs, MLAs and bureaucrats opt for private hospitals because they disdain public hospitals meant for the “cattle” class. Many leaders fly abroad for medical treatment. This encapsulates the poor condition of the public healthcare system. It can improve, provided MPs, MLA, corporators and civil servants are forced to use public hospitals instead of remorselessly using private facilities under the CGHS virtually free. Private hospitals must be removed from CGHS empanelment. Let public servants slog to improve India’s public healthcare system or let them suffer along with the common man.

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