I got back from work this evening and was sifting through TV channels, hoping to catch up on the important news events of the day. No surprises here, every channel claimed to have “first” broken the news of the Virat – Anushka wedding. They almost made it seem like it was a matter of grave national importance that needed the attention of 125 crore citizens living in this country. Come on, afterall its news about Virat Kohli’s wedding. I can actually hear non stop fire crackers from my cricket crazy neighbourhoods!! Its our duty to celebrate today and at the outset I do wish them a happy married life!!
I must confess that my patience with TV is next to nil and I change channels like no one’s business….. a serious impediment to all my relationships at home!
Well, after tolerating the “Virushka” wedding pictures on almost 5 channels, I landed upon a channel which held my attention. Ofcourse the anchor was talking (read screaming) about the “ills” of the current healthcare system in the country.
Today the louder you are, the bigger you get as a TV anchor… And if you are very very loud, then you may actually get an investor to helm your own private news channel! (R for Roar!!)
Being an anchor also means that you have a right to monologue and imposing your personal uneducated opinions on the millions of viewers who watch your channel.
So this lady went on and on about everything that is wrong today with India’s healthcare system and that private hospitals are capitalist villains, who are trying to fleece people of their hard-earned money. She screamed at the top of her voice about how private healthcare needs to be regularized and there must be a cap on charging by the hospitals. And ofcourse Max hospital totally deserved to be shut down…. and as for doctors… how can they even think of going on a strike! Its a noble profession after all!!
Today…..affordable healthcare is the most romanticised idea spread by our reverred politicians. Penalizing doctors and hospitals has become a norm. Its easy…. just beat up the doctors or vandalize the hospital… or better still….. shut the hospital!! Doctors are supposed to be noble but the nobility is conveniently thrown out of the windows of consumer courts where errant patients may file cases to make easy money or blackmail doctors. Oops…… all patients are not villainous and i must refrain from generalizing, but mind you neither are all doctors and hospitals.
It kind of suits governments to be populist and doctors are the softest of all targets shrouded in an imposed garb of nobility.
My questions today are …. After 70 years of independence why don’t we still have universal health coverage for all in this country? Why is India’s healthcare budget one of the lowest in the world? Why do Indian politicians run away to foreign lands when it comes to their own treatment or that of their loved ones? Instead of closing down private hospitals, why isn’t the government setting up more public hospitals? Why not equip the government run hospitals with world class facilities? Why not pay doctors in public health system well? Why not check where the allocated funds are disappearing? Why not remove the scourge of caste based reservation from the government system that do not allow deserving doctors to get promotions? Why not incentivize rural postings?
Being draconian is not a long term solution. A wrong cannot be corrected by another wrong. It is worrisome that most youngsters today don’t want to opt for medicine as their profession. Doctor bashing is a very convenient stance for the government. It appeases the public and makes them forget about the real issues in a typically political fashion.
Shutting down a hospital is a show of strength but if you are really strong, create five hospitals before you shut down one.
As for the tv anchors….. I don’t think they have the sensibilities or the intellect to be able to comment (read scream) on the complexities of healthcare… they will do us a real favour if they spare us of their pseudo- intellectualism and just stick to “weddings and Virushka”!
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Dr. Aparna Govil Bhasker is an accomplished Bariatric Surgeon and Laparoscopic GI Surgeon. Extremely passionate about her field of specialization. She completed her MBBS and MS in General Surgery in 2006, from Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences (MGIMS), Sewagram. Set up in 1967 by none other than the first health minister of India, Ms. Sushila Nayar, MGIMS is deeply rooted in Gandhian ethics. Read more