BHAWANIPATNA: HUGE vacancies in specialists posts across Government hospitals in Kalahandi district have come as a boon for medicine stores in Bhawanipatna. The stores are raking in the moolah by running clinics with visiting specialists.
Of the 107 specialist posts in Government hospitals of the district, 73 are lying vacant. At District Headquarters Hospital (DHH) in Bhawanipatna alone, 13 posts are vacant against the need of 29 while one specialist is on leave since long. To cash in on the situation, medicine store owners in the town are roping in specialists from Cuttack, Visakhapatnam and Nellore almost every day to check patients for a hefty consultancy fee. A specialist charges at least `500 from every patient.
Visits of the specialists are advertised by the store owners through public address system and leaflets that are distributed outside the DHH and other areas. Those interested register their names for consultation at the medicine stores and the crowd of patients is usually high during the weekends. Not just Bhawanipatna but patients from other parts of the district also avail the service of these physicians.
Interestingly, the specialists prescribe medicines that are available only in the particular medicine stores and chronic patients are usually referred to private hospitals with which, they are attached.
A medicine store owner, requesting anonymity, said the business of bringing in specialists from private hospitals is being practised by 10 to 12 medicine stores in the town. “Although this affects the business of other stores, no one protests due to professional ethics,” he said. On the contrary, another store owner who has been getting specialists from Visakhapatnam for the last four years, said this is a service to patients as the State Government is not filling up vacancies in Government hospitals.
President of the district wing of Indian Medical Association Dr Lambodar Sahoo said such an arrangement is against the Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulations, 2002. He said chapter 6 of the Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulations states that a physician shall not make use of him/ her name as subject of any form or manner of advertisement or publicity through any mode.
However, the business of specialists will continue to thrive till Government fills up the doctor vacancies, he said.