All along, medicine has been considered to be a noble profession. Now, that title seems to be in tatters, at least for doctors in many Indian private hospitals. According to The British Medical Journal (The BMJ), doctors in Indian private hospitals face immense pressure to carry out unnecessary and risky tests. The doctors need to advise a large number of patients to opt for surgery or tests that would provide significant financial gains to the hospital. Since doctors need to practice for a certain number of years, not doing so would jeopardise their career. That is not what someone who has spent many years studying, and spent big money doing that, would do. For patients that is a bigger problem as almost half of the hospital beds are in the private sector. That number is only going to rise in the future.
While there definitely are issues at many private hospitals, it is not the case at some of the better-known facilities. The Narayana Health Group, headed by Dr Devi Shetty does not set financial targets but performance targets to improve efficiency at its hospitals. While the damage has been done, it is time the Medical Council of India and the government set down standards for all hospitals to maintain. That would be the intravenous drip to stabilise the profession before further corrective action is taken.