• Wednesday, 28 September 2022

Disinterested Doctors


As we catch one disease or the other, we have no option but to rush to hospital for treatment. Allopathic doctors and nurses are the ones who help us return from the jaws of death. Being life saviours, they must not be humiliated. Instead, they should be honoured and appreciated for their vital role in protecting us from different ailments. 

However, we are often taken aback when we find the same doctors and nurses working actively in one institution do not seriously commit to their duty in other hospitals. This issue must be brought to discussion.

There is no doubt that Kathmandu as the capital city has enough allopathic, Ayurvedic and other types of hospitals. The allopathic hospitals operating in the Kathmandu Valley can generally be categorised as state-owned hospitals, semi-government hospitals, referral hospitals and private hospitals. The doctors and nurses working in state-owned hospitals are also seen working in private or community hospitals as part-time staff. 

While visiting any government hospitals, one may find many doctors and nurses treating patients. They, however, are seen paying little attention to their routines. If the arrival time of a doctor is fixed at 9 am, s/he might come around 11 am. In my two weeks’ period of visiting doctors at government hospitals, the majority of doctors were reluctant even to make a two-way communication with patients. They just asked a single rough question: ‘What happened?’ Then, they begin writing the prescription without listening to the patients' complaints. 

But interestingly, if you visit the same doctor in a privately-owned hospital or clinic, you may find him/her to be more lenient and friendly to you as well as other patients. The doctors are heard holding formal and informal discussions with the patients and visitors, and nurses are also cooperative and helpful. 

What makes them different is a matter of research. Some patients hold the opinion that the doctors get much money as fees from private hospitals. This is the reason why they change their behaviours. 

But, this may not be the case because government and semi-government hospitals, too, are paying good salary and perks to them. If these doctors serve in remote areas for a certain period, they are given promotion or chances for further studies. A private hospital can hardly provide them with such an opportunity. If the doctors are not obedient to private hospitals on grounds of money and opportunity, then, what causes them to be more compliant to the private institutions and irritant to the public hospitals? 

It is believed that job security at public institutions is the main cause behind such an attitude. When health workers are working on a temporary basis or in the probation period, they work efficiently in government hospitals as well. But as soon as they get permanent status, they seem not serious about duty. 

Some say that the permanent status makes all the staff from sweepers to drivers working at government hospitals lethargic. A sweeper with temporary status cleans the floor time and again carefully. But as s/he becomes permanent, s/he may start evading the work, and the same formula works with other staff members, too. 

What is more interesting is that ‘Professor Doctors’ are now hardly found checking patients at government hospitals.  


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