Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Save the Patient, not the Doctor

Recently a nation wide campaign has been launched tagged "save the doctor".

The cause: making life easier for medical students.

The appeal:
1) Increase PG seats
2) Include rural service within UG and PG course.

The arguments:
That there are 45600 UG seats and that there are only 12000 PG seats in clinical subjects. That this will make the UG doctor to work hard for years for a PG seat, based on the premise (one which I want to talk about in this post) that a clinical PG is absolutely necessary for serving as a doctor.
That one year of rural service will increase the time taken to start earning and start living.

The rural reality:
People die because there are no doctors to treat them.

The problem as statistics see it:
From Rural Health Statistics 2012, it can be slowly understood that around 25000 PHCs in India work with just one doctor where at least 3 are recommended.

About 5000 CHCs, with at least 4 specialists required, need around 20000 specialists, but only around 7000 are working as such.

The problem as Dr Deo, et al. sees it:
There are enough UG doctors, there aren't enough PG doctors.

Their solution:
Increase PG seats. Easy!

The way I see it:
Nobody likes to go to a village. There is no bus, no electricity, no roads, more mosquitoes, no broadband, no mobile coverage.
Naturally doctors do not want to go there either.

Everybody likes to enjoy life. Doctors too. And more the money, easier it is to enjoy.

When there are many UG seats, thanks to the competition in cities many MBBS doctors move to rural areas and work there.
When they get PG, they have better opportunities in the cities, more facilities, better way to work. They don't go to villages.

So, the 'fact' that PG is necessary for working as a doctor seems counter intuitive for me.

Of course you need a PG if you're interested in the academic curiosities and the such. But to work as just a doctor, all you need is a basic knowledge of treating cholera and pneumonia and a will to have a small life.

Save the doctor campaign seems misguided.

Ask me whether I won't enjoy life:
I just need broadband connection to enjoy life.

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