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23 November, 2017 02:13:06 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 23 November, 2017 02:17:21 AM

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Rationalise health care costs

The ministry of health should act seriously and vigorously to reaffix the doctors' consultation fees at a reasonable level so that common people can easily have the service of the specialist doctors
Prof. Sarwar Md. Saifullah Khaled
Rationalise health care costs

It is found by experience that health care inequality between the poor and the rich is conspicuously present in our country and the gap is gradually growing day by day. The poor patients are usually deprived of the medical facilities despite some improvements and advanced studies in the modern medical field and improvement of healthcare quality or medical services.

But doctor' fees and high diagnostic charges are as good as the final straw that breaks the camel's back now a day. A scholar says: God did not like mothers to be everywhere, so He created doctors to give mother's love and service to his patients. The saying goes to prove that the profession of a doctor is a highly noble and responsible one. For the modern-day doctors in our country the Hippocratic Oath they take has become a matter of a bygone era in most of the cases. Of course, there are some of the doctors even to day who act and serve the patients rationally and morally, but their number can be counted by fingers. In our country when a patient goes to a doctor for his disease to be healed he has to pay an exorbitant fees and charges for unnecessary diagnostic tests. The usual complaint goes like this that the doctors demand Taka 800 per visit of 4 to 5 minutes or even less. There are doctors who charges even Taka 1000 and more as consultation fees. Thus a doctor earns, besides their monthly high salary that they get from government hospitals/medical colleges, at least on an average Taka 10,000 to 16, 000 every evening, in some of the specialized cases the figure goes up to from Taka 20,000 to 30,000.

At all most every first appointment most of the doctors suggests a long list of necessary and/or unnecessary diagnostic tests. There are instances where most of the test results appear to be normal. Maybe, one or two test results show some deviation from the normal standard. The usual pertinent question is why doctors advise patients more tests than required? They, as specialized doctors, are supposed that they can realize from their education and long experience what tests are indispensable or what are not. Surprising enough is that when a patient goes to a diagnostic centre for getting the lists of tests done, it charges double from him. Half of the charges taken, it is alleged, are given to the doctor concerned who referred the tests. This money is known as “doctor's commission”. Is it not cheating the patient by the doctor and the diagnostic centre as well?

The ministry of health should act seriously and vigorously to reaffix the doctors' consultation fees at a reasonable level so that common people can easily have the service of the specialist doctors when they need it. It should also take appropriate steps and measures to fix the charges for tests at the diagnostic centres. A couple of decades back, the government fixed the doctors' fees and charges for diagnostic tests. These should be updated and enforced strictly through appropriate government monitoring mechanism. The violators of the government-fixed fees and charges for diagnostic tests should be severely dealt with. On the other hand it should be ensured that those who want to make a mint quickly should not in any way come to the noble profession of doctors. We want to see the doctors' consultation fees and diagnostic charges are rationalized without delay to the benefit of the common people.

Moreover, we all know that medical treatment all over the world is a humanitarian care to the patients. But at present all most all the diagnostic clinics in Bangladesh with their extensive treatment methods are making a fun of humanitarian motives by their faulty experiments at high costs. The commoners especially the poorer and working class people are being deprived or cheated of modern treatment as they can ill afford the cost required. Once there was a time when the commoners as well as all classes of people used to get satisfactory medical care and services at the government hospitals. But these days the government physicians of the government hospitals/medical colleges prefer to treat patients at private clinics or hospitals where medical treatment cost is very high and beyond the reach of commoners.  

As a result the situation now stands like this that the government hospitals neglect the patients and the private hospitals are too expensive for them to afford. So where will the common people go? It is common knowledge that without medical treatment by specialised/experienced physician or treatment by unqualified doctors and nurses will lead people to death and disease. By all standard Bangladesh is a poor country. Therefore, care should be taken so that all classes of people, especially the common people, may get medical treatment including diagnostic tests by qualified physicians at the government hospitals of the country at low or free of cost. At the same time physicians should honour the Hippocratic Oath they take to save the life of a patient as far as possible and not kill the patient.      

The writer is a retired Professor of Economics, BCS General Education Cadre

IK

 

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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