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Public Hospitals In India Dr. Shriniwas Kashalikar
Since the public services and especially public health
services, affect most of us, it is essential to find out the
root causes of their deficiency and try to deal with
them. This is one of the intellectual measures of stress
management and benefits every individual concerned.
The causes of degeneration of quality of public health
services in public hospitals in India; is the prevalence
of the two concepts on which these institutions work.
These concepts are, free medical care and economic
dependence of these institutions on the government
revenue and donations.
FREE MEDICAL CARE
The free medical care gives rise to parasitism, beggarly
tendency, meekness and irresponsibility towards
personal and public health amongst the patients.
The free medical care creates a special and extremely
favorable situation and golden opportunity for the
powerful, rich and famous individuals to exploit the
government revenue and tax payers’ money.
The free medical care leads to zero returns and
subsequent deterioration in the facilities given to
patients and employees.
The free medical care associated with perpetual
absence of returns leads to unjustifiably low salaries,
delay in filling the vacancies, excessive working hours
and duties, and delay in promotions.
This state of affairs demoralizes the sincere and
dedicated employees and promotes irresponsibility,
lethargy, absenteeism, corruption etc.
ECONOMIC DEPENDENCE OF THESE
INSTITUTIONS ON THE GOVERNMENT
REVENUE AND DONATIONS
The public hospitals are not self-sufficient and do not
have any productive/commercial projects to support
them. Naturally since there are no returns either from
patients or from any other source, for what is spent, the
public hospitals are always in loss.
This has lead to inadequate progress in terms of
inadequate facilities, inadequate salaries, inadequate
employment in terms of number of employees in
almost every category, protracted duty hours,
worsening working conditions, worsening of staying
conditions for the employees and crowding of patients
due to huge patients/employee ratio.
All these factors have lead to deterioration of the
quality of medical care. In fact because of this a large
number of lower middle class and even poor patients
turn to private practitioners, consultants and hospitals.
This deterioration can be overcome by trying to make
the public hospitals self-sufficient. For this, the
concept of free medical care has to be replaced by
more just system of payment. This would bring
adequate revenue to ensure progress in terms of
adequate facilities, adequate salaries, appropriate
employment which could ensure normal duty hours,
improvement in working conditions, improvement in
staying conditions for the employees and preventing
excessive and many times [because the services are
free] unnecessary crowding of patients.
One may raise the objection that this is difficult to
implement in case of very poor, helpless, unsupported
It is very true that no sensitive and sensible individual
would think of doing it as well. These patients who are
in agonies, in emergencies, or helpless etc. should be
made exception and a separate arrangement can be
made for them. But in most other cases the problem
can be overcome by making provision for payment
through “services” or soft loans.
Another way to make the public hospitals self-
sufficient is by buttressing them with productive /
commercial projects. One can think of more innovative
plans as well.
This is important because:
A] it would inculcate a sense of responsibility towards
one’s own health, towards public funds, towards public
services, amongst everyone including the patients.
B] it would generate the sense of accountability,
satisfaction and fulfillment amongst the employees
C] It would ensure optimal progress in medical care
especially in terms of holistic approach
D] It would improve the lives of patients as well as
E] It would make the revenue hitherto squandered on
free medical care available for other developmental
work thereby facilitating national progress.
F] it would reduce the corruption born of out of
G] it would reduce the crowding and degeneration of
private medical care.
DR. SHRINIWAS KASHALIKAR