Indian Journal of Medical Ethics


Ethics in private hospitals

Recent times have seen a great spurt in the growth of privately, owned hospitals (including private trusts) in our city. Most of these start with noble ideas of providing advanced medical treatment to our citizens. Some even have collaborations with major hospitals of global fame. After a few years they peter out to the same format.

Although called research centres, no research is carried out. None is published. It appears that this may be a tax dodge. 15% of the beds that are promised for the weaker sections of society to the government, to obtain extra FSI and / or relief from customs duties are being manipulated. These 15% beds are either non-existent or disbursed on a community basis or to personal favourites.

Industrialists and management experts control the appointments of doctors, which is usually on a hire and fire basis. Initially they appoint a large number of consultants and slowly weed out the non-crowd pullers. Later on they opt for full-timers who can earn for the hospital on an income-sharing basis.

Recognition is sought from the Medical Council of India, university and other educational institutions, in order to facilitate getting residents at a junior level. These residents get no training or experience, and are not exposed to any responsibility, and there is no teaching programme for them.

In my opinion, every private hospital should have an ethics committee that should go into such issues. The committee should even be empowered to listen to complaints of excessive billing, which is quite frequent in these five-seven star hospitals.

P Madhok, Ashwini Nursing Home, 15 th Road, Khar, Mumbai 400 052.