VIJAYAWADA: The decision of the State government to ban the private practice by government doctors has evoked a mixed reaction from them with the Indian Medical Association (IMA) supporting it and several serving doctors terming it impractical.
“We support the decision. However, the doctors will have to be compensated with good pay and increments along with a special allowance for specialist doctors. Only then can it work,” Dr Gangadhar, an IMA member, told TNIE. Several doctors TNIE spoke to felt the problems in government hospitals won’t disappear with banning the private practice of doctors.
A senior doctor at the Government General Hospital, said, “It is not the doctors alone. It is teamwork of nurses, staff etc. It is better if the government recruits a new team of doctors for government services. Because, if the ban is enforced, only a few doctors will remain in service. Most will resign. Given the inequality of work and unpleasant working conditions in government institutions, it is certain that many will prefer private practice to government service.”
He cautioned that specialists will go first. He was of the view that the State government should come up with a better idea rather than banning private service. “It is ultimately the choice of the people. Many do not visit government hospitals because the doctor, who is treating them, quality of services, atmosphere, everything plays an important role,” he said.
Earlier, in order to prevent government doctors from running a private practice, the State government in the then united Andhra Pradesh used to pay non-practising allowance. After the State division, citing resource crunch, the then TDP government discontinued it and allowed government doctors to have a private practice.
Speaking to TNIE, Dr K Sujatha Rao, who heads the expert committee that recommended this ban to the government, explained, “We observed that a number of doctors are neglecting their duties in the government health sector. They are just turning up for attendance and drawing a salary but spending most of their time in their private clinics. We advised the government to increase their pay. There will be incentives and special allowances too. With this, government hospitals will be strengthened and the quality of service will improve. If they want to quit and go for private practice, they are free to do so and the government will recruit a new team.”