The medical fraternity has once again voiced protest against including their services in the ambit of the Consumer Protection Act 1986. The central working committee meeting of the Indian Medical Association (IMA), which concluded on Sunday, stated that it would initiate measures that would highlight the demerits of the inclusion
“The services rendered by doctors cannot be considered as merely commercial. A patient cannot be treated only as a consumer who pays the doctor for services rendered. Such a perception is not justifiable,” opined Dr Abraham Varghese.
"There is a grace associated with this profession. Including this profession under the ambit of the Consumer Protection Act 1986 belittles the dignity of the profession,” he added.
“While treating a patient, doctors do not go by hard and fast rules. The heart transplantation surgery which took place in Kochi recently is a clear example. It is the strong bond established between the patient and doctor which made the hospital authorities undertake such a risk, even though the doctors were quite aware of the critical condition of the patient.
But in the future, if the consumer protection act continues to put shackles on them, doctors would be wary of taking such risks,” IMA authorities opined. In case some untoward incidents occur from the part of the hospitals, there are courts and other facilities to deal with it,” the authorities added.
Dr Abraham said that in case the services of doctors could not be excluded from the ambit of the act, member of the medical fraternity should be included in the relevant forums. “Without a proper representation, how could they assess the work of doctors?” he asked.
Abdulla Zona, formerly part of the State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission, opined that the commission or the forums pronounce a verdict only after weighing all aspects of an issue. “The consumer dispute redressal forum passes a verdict only after consulting a medical authority regarding any hospital cases,” he said.