Act Now or be doomed forever

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Numerous court judgments not withstanding the Maharashtra Government is soon going to declare clinics and other medical establishments commercial in character and subject to shops and clinical establishments Act. We missed the bus when we lost the case of IMA vs V P Shantha & Ors, when Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquettes & Ethics) Regulation 2002 was passed and when Central & the West Bengal Clinical Establishment Act were passed.

As a clinician I am constantly confused as to my status. Am I a trader, a shopkeeper who sells medicines or simply a commercial service provider. If so, then why is this “professional nobility” stuffed down my throat at every step. If I resuse disposables after sterilization during ERCP it is considered criminal , if over and above my ERCP charges I charge for the 70000 worth of disposables which can be used in an ERCP then I am a crook. Please make my position clear. If society wants I will even use a disposable endoscope and gift the endoscope used to the patients, only it will cost about 16-20 lacs per procedure.

Why making of profit by Reliance Industries is admired and by me is frowned upon. Why investments are made in Fortis stocks since it is a profitable investment but Fortis Doctors are considered demonic shylocks . As a trader I will have a right to be profitable. In trade profitability whether 10 % margin or 3000 % margin is dictated by market forces and not by Government or courts. As a trader I will demand and receive exemptions and facilitatory measures to increase my profit.

My plea to the Government is to free me of my chains and kindly take the “nobility of my profession” and bestow it to the advocates, ask them to display their fixed charges outside their chambers, and maintain the best standards possible. I will be happy to be a trader but give me the rights of any trader. This Maharashtra Shops & Commercial Establishments Bill if is not nipped in the bud will soon be replicated across the board in other states. I wonder after repeated onslaughts on the medical profession whether there is a deliberate design among a coterie within the ruling establishment or is it just plain and simple stupidity. Ofcourse that we as medical professionals contribute to this assault against ourselves by our own actions and inactions is another story.

Dr Neeraj Nagpal 
Convenor,Medicos Legal Action Group, Managing Director MLAG Indemnity,
Ex President IMA Chandigarh
Director Hope Gastrointestinal Diagnostic Clinic,
1184, Sector 21 B Chandigarh 
09316517176 , 9814013735
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