What does drop in BD patients at Kolkata hospitals mean?    

Dhaka,  Tue,  26 September 2017
Published : 22 Aug 2017, 20:37:53
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OPINION

What does drop in BD patients at Kolkata hospitals mean?    

As a matter of fact, whereas in neighboring countries hospitals are engaged in positive competition in our case unfortunately a negative competiveness is being observed in sponging off patients, writes Marksman  
For the first time perhaps, six top private hospitals in Kolkata have taken note of  a dip in the flow of patients from Bangladesh.  Brimming Bangladesh desks in  most  of  them were a common feature of thriving medical tourism that had peaked over the last decade. The hitherto  swelling numbers of admission seekers and that of outpatients  undergoing medical procedures  have declined by as much as 15 per cent. Kolkata private medical establishment is a bit worried but alive to the situation right away in an anxiety to arrest the downtrend.

Three principal reasons have been adduced to Bangladeshi patients shying away from the traditional medical dug-outs. The  image issue with   certain hospitals tainted on account of alleged patient exploitation including wide-ranging diagnostic tests, and above all  inflated billing is making rounds. Chief minister Mamata Banerjee came  hard on some of them etching a question mark on  their reputation in the  public mind. They came under fire this February. Since then as the Kolkata datelined  report carried by this paper noted on Saturday, "Bangladeshis have been following the developments keenly and exchanging notes on social media ." 

The third but a crucial factor relates to the   mandatory medical  visa  requirement for the Bangladeshis aiming to seek treatment of their ailments in Kolkata, or for that matter, at specialised medical centres in other Indian cities.

Making the  medical visa mandatory has had two practical  implications: One, discouraging the practice of Bangladeshis going to India, more precisely, Kolkata or Chennai or even New Delhi  on tourist visa but  availing themselves of the medicare facilities anyway. The second upshot of  mandating medical visa for treatment purposes is likely to be  this:  Rather than taking tourist visa on the hoof and pitching for a Kolkata hospital , armed with a   medical visa after an elaborate procedure, they might veer away from Kolkata   choosing  other Indian destinations for specialised   medicare. Some Kolkatans have expressed such an apprehension.

Set aside  the issue of  appropriate category  visa, India has the privilege of insisting on  ,there can be no sense of déjà vu for our part at the Kolkata hospitals' concern over ebbing of patient inflow from Bangladesh. For, in spite of that, you see a countervailing development in  Apollo Gleneagles and R N Tagore International Institute of  Cardiac  Sciences(RTIICS) in the shape of a spike in the number of patients from Bangladesh . Surely it will be dinned into the ears of highly commercialised medical outfits by the  sheer force of circumstances that professionalism and excellence are a great magnetizer of clientele.

The message to be derived from the negative publicity that some top  Kolkata   hospitals have been affected by is clear-cut for a country like Bangladesh which despite having reputable doctors and state-of-the art equipment is skirted by compatriots in preference to foreign hospitals!

 Over-commercialism is the nemesis of the Hippocratic Oath and a bane for medical profession. Patients in a terminal state  are left to gasp for breath and  held ransom to monetary arrangements before any treatment can even begin. 

It is becoming an entrenched practice in private hospitals and clinics to subject a patient   to a wide variety of tests. Hospital bills often are inflated beyond the capacity of many patients. Holding a terminal patient who is all but dead beyond medical necessity is unethical.  

At one time there was a serious effort to fix slabs of fees for consultation with doctors and the  services collateral to patients having been   taken under the wings of care. 

As a matter of fact, whereas  in  neighboring countries  hospitals are engaged in positive competition in our case unfortunately a negative competiveness is being  observed in sponging off patients .   Profit margin appears to be the core motivation with service becoming a secondary consideration of many a hospital management.

 Of course there are exceptions but as the normative truth goes exceptions do not make rules. 

safarihi43@gmail.com



 
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