Trust deficit growing in healthcare system, say experts

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Chennai, Sep 16 (IANS) Increasing attacks on doctors and hospitals by relatives of patients and rising number of cases being filed against medical professionals are mainly due to a growing trust deficit in the healthcare ecosystem, said an official on Saturday.

“There is a growing trust deficit in the healthcare ecosystem in the country. Doctors and hospitals are being attacked by relatives of patients. This would result in doctors avoiding to treat patients,” S. Prakash, Chief Operating Officer, Star Health and Allied Insurance Company Ltd, told reporters here.

“Owing to the atmosphere of suspicion, fanned by the media and the prominence given to reporting of medical malpractice lawsuits, the doctors are wary of treating complex cases, lest they are charged with negligence,” Prakash added.

He said Star Health and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) would form a first-of-its-kind platform to facilitate discussion and finding ways to address this trust deficit.

“We will hold meetings where public and doctors would interact and discuss the issues, so that a measure of confidence is built. The first meeting will be held soon,” Prakash added.

According to J.S. Rajkumar, Chairman and Chief Laparoscopic Surgeon, Lifeline Institute of Minimal Access (LIMA), 53 hospitals have been attacked in the last two years in India.

He added the life expectancy of doctors had come down at a time when the general life expectancy has gone up in the country.

Citing commercialisation in the healthcare industry and waning preference for government hospitals, C.M.K. Reddy, Halsted Surgical Clinic, wondered why ministers — state or central — should get themselves treated in private hospitals.

He said if ministers and officials go to government hospitals, the cascading positive effect would be felt by the general people as well.

Prakash said while the insurance sector was highly regulated, the hospitals were not regulated and there was no standardisation.

Rajkumar did agree that some hospitals charge differential rates for diagnostic tests depending on the kind of room a patient had taken.

The officials also agreed that there were black sheep in the medical profession who take commissions from diagnostic labs for prescribing tests and indulging in other malpractices.

Such doctors should be dealt with as per law and that should not spoil the trust people have in doctors and their judgement, the three officials said.

–IANS

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