Everyone's aware of the government's interest, sometimes unfair, in the promotion of traditional medicine, but Ayush doctors for looking after ICUs and emergency treatments is taking things to the next level.
Soon after a report brings to light the practice of hospitals hiring Ayush (Ayurvedic/homeopathic) doctors, for the treatment of patients in ICU, at half the cost of allopathic doctors, it doesn't take long for the social media to spread the news with the virality it deserves.
Amidst the furore, the hospital's staff-seeking advertisements go viral. Many such ads, including some of those by corporate chains, clearly state hiring of doctors for clinical duties, like intubation of patients, initiating emergency care and manage ICUs at night.
The questions and concerns both, naturally, are far too many. According to several such adverts at popular job sites, doctors with a background in the practice of Ayush are paid significantly lesser salary than their MBBS counterparts.
While they may be a viable cost-cutting measure on the part of hospitals at a time when revenues through routine check-ups and OPDs are minimal for the hospitals, but is the cost-cutting benefit passed onto patients. No second guesses needed there.
It must be noted that most multi-specialty private hospitals have NABH accreditation (National Accreditation Board for Hospitals & Healthcare providers), which bars Ayush doctors from practicing allopathic medicine. As per the advertisements, such doctors are mostly for big cities like Pune and Mumbai. Although Bhopal and Indore aren't far behind.
What's the way out?
All of this keeping the patients and families in the dark can be avoided if everyone is mandated to wear a badge with their name, designation, qualification and registration number, says a Twitter user. Thus echoing many others who questioned how difficult it is to display the names of doctors on duty with registration numbers in the ward they are assigned to.
Who hasn't been to a private hospital after paying through their nose? If that very nose of the public is swelling up with anger, can they be asked to tone down?
Not limited to branch of medicine
The practice is reportedly common in Delhi-NCR region where big private chains are said to cut corners by using DNB trainees, using graduates from other countries, or using medical officers in place of specialist resident doctors. The fury over the news led many to speculate whether the MBBS doctors on duty have in all cases completed their degree. Those who do proxy duties for doctors need to be monitored for their qualification as well. Yes, they do. The hospital authorities that have been hired in the context of the matter, said the Ayush doctors are hired as administrative or support staff.
Most reputed private hospital chains mention all of their doctors' name, photographs, qualifications and experience on their official websites. It's a good idea to have the background check in place of yours or your family' member's doctor. On seeing an unknown or a new medical professional in-charge, don't hesitate to ask the authorities for details. If they have nothing to hide, they will not hide.