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An Open Letter to Union Health Minister

Respected Dr Harsh Vardhan ji,

Medicos Legal Action Group congratulates you on your stupendous victory and becoming India’s Health Minister. I convey the best wishes of our Group for a positive movement on agenda of Maximum Governance and Minimum Government as desired by Shri Narender Modi ji.

Dr Neeraj Nagpal

Medicos Legal Action Group comprises of Allopathic Doctors from all over the country who engage with the Government legally on issues which effect medical education, training and practice. We wish to work with the new Government on various health related issues.

Unfortunately the previous UPA Government had an agenda to destroy established medical institutions, gather all power in hands of health ministry and issue diktats, orders without so much as a consultative process. No thought was given as to what the effect of such orders and hastily passed laws would have on the health of the nation. Examples of some such foolhardy decisions are:

1) BSc Community Health
2) Compulsory Rural Service for MBBS doctors
3) Clinical Establishment Act
4) Dissolution of MCI
5) Permission for AYUSH to practice Allopathy
6) Apathy in face of unlimited Compensation claims and decisions in cases of medical negligence under the Consumer Protection Act

Sir, being a colleague you will understand that MBBS doctors have only 31,000 odd posts in Primary Health Centres all over the country. Even considering that an equal number is employed in various Institutes, Medical Colleges, Hospitals and under the NRHM (National Rural Health Mission) the number is not more than 70,000. When we consider 45,000 MBBS doctors being produced in the country it is obvious that the remaining 90% MBBS doctors are self-employed in small and medium healthcare facilities all around the country. The Govt in its wisdom in the past has not recognized their contribution towards providing healthcare needs of the nation. Policies designed to make their life more and more difficult and harass them to the extreme have been brought out with no thought of the consequences. These doctors besides providing medical services also give employment and training to lacs of paramedical personnel. Since they are scattered all over the country and are not organized their voice is not heard.

On behalf of all MBBS doctors and specially those who are self employed and working in small and medium healthcare establishments we request you to:

1) Stop implementation of the Clinical Establishment Act and rethink with adequate consultation on the adverse aspects of this Act. With the country shedding its Nehruvian state sponsored and controlled business ideals and moving towards privatization it is strange that in medical field License Raj is sought to be reimposed.

2) Amend the Consumer Protection Act to put a Cap on maximum Compensation which can be demanded and awarded in cases of medical negligence.

3) Rethink the issue of BSc Community Health and instead raise the number of posts for MBBS doctors as well as number of Primary Health Centres in the country from abysmally low figure of about 28,000 to a more appropriate 70,000. Once more MBBS doctors are employed the need of separate cadre of rural doctors will not exist anymore.

4) Consider extending Income Tax benefits to hospitals with less than 25 beds in small towns and villages. The UPA Government had brought a policy for hospitals with more than 100 beds few years ago to benefit corporate sector with not many takers.

5) Implement Stringently the anti quackery laws and stop crosspathy. If this is not feasible and all AYUSH doctors anyway have to prescribe allopathic drugs then reduce the criterion of staff and infrastructure for MBBS colleges, close all AYUSH colleges, start MBBS in the infrastructure which becomes available and introduce AYUSH as a Postgraduate subject after MBBS.

6) Amend IPC to make violence against doctors and medical establishments a cognizable offence with stringent punishment.

We understand that some of the agenda on our wish list may not be within the purview of your ministry but your support for the issues raised is solicited. We hope and pray that you and Shri Narender Modi ji will lead India to the glory that it deserves.

Dr Neeraj Nagpal
Convenor, Medicos Legal Action Group
Ex-President, IMA Chandigarh

3 Comments

  1. sudhir sudhir Monday, June 23, 2014

    Sir send ur no. Plz.tell u many thngs

  2. Dr. Laxmi T Rao Dr. Laxmi T Rao Monday, June 2, 2014

    I too agree with Dr Nagpal. In addition to the above points, it is highly essential to give special attention to PHC – for example, adequate supply of medicine to PHC, immediate attention to Emergency service.
    Thanks to the Government for giving right position to the right person. Congratulations and wish you all the success.

  3. Wierdo Wierdo Thursday, May 29, 2014

    Kindly also look into the matter of abysmally low PG and PD seats in the country. Moreover, even these few seats get blocked by certain rankers and reverted to states.

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