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Tuesday, Sep 27, 2005
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VISAKHAPATNAM: Grass is greener on the other side of the fence... so goes the adage. It seems to be true in respect of the medical profession. It might look rosy and fetching, from outside the window, but ground realities make it thorny.
``Before joining the medical course and until the completion of my post-graduation in gynaecology, I knew nothing about the ground realities. But today I realise how difficult it is to establish myself as a private practitioner after putting over eight years of study and spending a couple of lakhs of rupees,'' says Radha (name changed), a topper in her batch.
Radha wanted to set up her private practice and the very first day she realised that she was a stranger to the profession. "There is practically no place for freshers like us in a world dominated by corporate hospitals and medical colleges. Today people are attracted by the infrastructure and show of the clinic or hospital, and to set an average `look good' clinic with the required equipment would cost a fortune. Moreover, it is very difficult to compete with the established doctors,'' says she.
According to her, primarily the competition is from the established doctors and private medical colleges that charge considerably low to get more patients. But the real threat is from the `cut practices' that is being followed by some section of the fraternity.
"Most of the established doctors maintain a network of people under their payroll who in turn influence patients to visit the doctors. The doctors pay such agents 30 to 40 per cent of the fee charged. In such a scenarios where do we stand?''
Most medicos who pass out with the motive of service face this rude shock and undergo an emotional trauma for a minimum period of five to six years till they establish themselves.
Another major problem that the young doctors face is the level of teaching in the medical colleges. Says Radha: "The moment I completed my PG, I was under the impression that I mastered the discipline, but soon I realised that I knew only 50 per cent after joining a mentor. In Government medical colleges there is a shortage of infrastructure and equipment and professors make us do the general and routine stuff and keep the complicated and hard task for their personal clinical exposure.''
In private colleges, she says that though there is no shortage of equipment, there is a dearth of patients and good doctors.
``Moreover, the doctors in medical colleges are way behind the present trend at least by 20 years. This, I have come to realise after joining my mentor's hi-tech clinic,'' she says.
In the medical profession one would be successful only when he or she is abreast of the latest techniques and treatment process. If this is the situation, then after a couple of years very few might opt for joining the medical stream, feels Radha.
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