Ombudsman must be posted in big hospitals

There is much concern about the lack of health facilities for the vast majority of the poor. Government hospitals are suspect to be lack of quality medical service.

There has been a rapid growth of big, high-tech corporate hospitals in India. Apollo had been a pioneer. So too the Manipal group in Karnataka. Between the two, they are setting some new trends. They are becoming chains, Manipal expanding in medical colleges and universities, Apollo expanding into vast network of high quality hospitals whose services are sought after by the high and mighty, even in New Delhi where the All India Medical Services Institute of the Central Government is now, it seems facing competition for big clients.

One reason for the success of these new big private hospitals is their big investments in latest equipment and also their ability to draw the best talents.

Thus, in Chennai, there are so many reputed medical doctors in many specialisations and thus these other equally big or small hospitals draw big clients. Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai and New Delhi, besides even the small district towns like Coimbatore had seen new investments in medical hospitals that offer almost near international quality services.

There are also hospitals like Wockhart Heart Institute in Bangalore, where a heart surgeon like Dr.Vivek Jawali had emerged as the most reputed and as the most sought after heart surgeon. His latest “beating the heart” surgery and other feats had won his laurels not only at the all India level, but also among his peers in the USA and Russia.

Perhaps, he does set the latest trends in heart surgery. Equally famous is Dr.Devi Shetty of Narayan Hrudayalaya, again in Bangalore, who had caught the attention of the entire world for not only his mass scale heart surgery services, he had treated any number of children from Pakistan and other countries. In Chennai Dr.Cherian is another legend.

The point here we want to convey to readers is that we have some experiences with these reputed hospitals.

There are also some noticeable deficiencies. At Apollo, the break-neck speed in expansion had led to recruiting lots of retired government service-doctors. They, as our experience in one or two instances show, are not fully endowed with the private sector spirit of a sense of mission. If you expand too fast without matching control over monitoring, then, the result is deficient service only. In Manipal too we find over the years there is a deficiency of service. Even in routine health checkup, there are not enough qualified doctors, either cardiologists or general physicians who really give proper advice. These lead to some unpleasant developments.

A letter of complaint to the highest man, ideally must elicit a reply by the big and mighty man, right? In India, we find we shirk this great moral commitment.

One suggestion, ideally, is for these big hospitals to post one ombudsman in each of these hospitals so that a genuine complaint has the chance of redressal, right?

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