Poona Citizen Doctors Forum (PCDF) is a non-profit registered society formed by volunteer-citizens in Pune, from various professional and social backgrounds and like-minded doctors. It seeks to bridge the current trust deficit between patients and doctors who are trying to do ethical, rational practice and rebuild this trust. This will promote ‘healthy’ medical practice overall.
Dr. Arun Gadre, Dr. Anant Phadke, Dr. Sharda Bapat, Dr. Shreeram Geet, Dr. Madhavi Agashe, Mr. Ulhas Sawant, Mr. Shekhar Shende, Mr. Abhay Deodhar,Mr. Deepak Tawri
We are all aware of the growing ‘trust deficit’ between patients and doctors due to increasing commercialization of the medical profession, especially corporatization and consumerism among patients. Not only patients but many doctors who want to do rational and ethical practice are suffering due to this gross commercialization and consumerism which have led to irrational investigations, procedures, surgeries and kickbacks for referrals.
To overcome this situation would require a whole series of policy-measures to move towards a system wherein private-practitioners would be paid from public fund on the principle of ‘standard payment for standard care’ and hence doctor-patient relations would not be based on the market-logic. Many doctors and citizen are aware that such system exists in some European countries, even in some third world countries and in Canada. In India such a system for private practitioners should be part of a national system called Universal Health Care (UHC) in which Public Health Services providing high quality, patient-friendly and accountable services would play a central role. Though it’s quite an uphill task to bring UHC in India, even today some citizens and doctors can come together to foster doctor-patient relations which are not geared to commercial logic but which are primarily geared to the spirit of providing and seeking ethical professional health care.
Given this background, Poona-Citizen-Doctors-Forum seeks to bring together sane voices from within the community of doctors and patients to begin to overcome the trust deficit between rational doctors and a section of citizens. We also see our mission as developing public opinion in favour of a system of Universal Health Care in India and for this purpose, to contribute to the movement for ‘Health and Health care for all’.
To bring together a community of patient friendly doctors in Pune who want to do rational ethical practice and to foster a community of patients who want to dialogue and engage with such doctors. The forum would also contribute to any attempt towards bringing about a system of Universal Health Care in India.
To achieve our objectives the Forum would try to initiate and foster different activities like –
- To prepare a data base of such patient-friendly doctors so as to offer a list of such doctors to patients in need.
- To create a web based platform containing structured questionnaire which can be used by patients to share the names of doctors whom they have visited and found to be patient-friendly. This information can be used by others patients who are looking for patient-friendly, rational/ ethical doctors.
- To organize discussions among such doctors and citizens on topics like Patients’ Rights and Responsibilities, dilemmas in rational, ethical practice, Health Care for All Policy etc. to understand each other’s problems and to help each other to take remedial steps.
- To make patients aware not only about their rights but also about their responsibilities.
- To prepare and publish with the help of such doctors, standard educational material in lay language. This may be in the form of Frequently Asked Questions and their answers about scientific treatment of various health-problems ranging from medical problems like diabetes, high blood pressure etc. to problems like hernia, piles, appendicitis, critical blockade in a coronary artery etc. which require surgical intervention.
- To create a web-site for wider dissemination of these activities and to upload this educational material so that on the one hand a wider community of citizens can benefit and on the other hand a wider community of like-minded doctors can endorse such material and also give suggestions for improvements.
- To liaison with other such groups in India and abroad
- To advocate for policy-measures which will undermine corporatization, commercialization of health care and promote, rational, ethical health care
The Forum will function in a democratic manner and will be open to all who agree with its perspective and want to contribute to its work.
The Forum is formed by volunteer-citizens in Pune, from various professional and social backgrounds and like-minded doctors. It is expected that the doctors associated with the Forum would follow scientific diagnostic and treatment guidelines; would avoid unnecessary expenses for patients; would give sufficient time to patients; would be willing to answer/arrange to answer reasonable queries and doubts by patients and would have transparency regarding fees and charges.
Our Advisory Board
‘ Poona Citizen Doctors Forum’ is an outcome of brainstorming among doctors as well as citizen for way ahead to bridge the gap between rational, ethical doctors and needy patients. The forum has an advisory board which consists of eminent persons in Pune from the medical and social fields. Our advisory board is :
Dr. Sanjay Gupte
MD, DGO, FICOG, LLB, FRCOG
- Senior gynaecologist in Pune renowned for ethical, rational practice
- President FOGSI 2010 (The Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India)
- Past Chairman of Ethics Committee, Maharashtra State Medical Council
Mr. Vivek Velankar
- Senior activist renowned for the work in the field of Right to Information
- Founder president of NGO named “Sajag Nagrik Manch” which hhelps citizens to use RTI for public accountability
- Convener of “PMP Pravasi Manch”
Dr. Pratibha Kulkarni
- Senior gynecologist in Pune renowned for ethical, rational practice
- Honorary Consultant: Dept. of Obstetrics &Gynecology Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital & Research Centre, Pune
Mr. Suryakant Pathak
- Senior activist of the Consumer movement
- Editor of the Marathi monthly – ‘Grahakhit’
- Managing director Grahak Peth
Dr. Jayant Navarange
MD. Pediatrics. LLB.
- Senior pediatrician in Pune renowned for ethical, rational practice
- Nationally renowned medico-legal expert
- Past president of IMA Pune and Indian Academy of Pediatrics Pune
Advocate Asim Sarode
- Practicing Lawyer renowned for his work on human rights and law
- Writer on socio-legal, human rights and Environment issues
- Author of a book in Marathi on ‘Domestic Violence and Law’
Dr. Vinay Kulkarni
- Senior dermatologist and HIV specialist in Pune renowned for ethical, rational practice
- Founder, ‘Prayas health Group’
- Head of the dermatology dept and consultant, Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital & Research Centre, Pune
Mr. Yamaji Malkar
- Senior journalist and editor of the monthly magazine in Marathi – ‘Arthapurna’ devoted to the ‘ARTHAKRANTI’ strategy
- Ex- Editor of ‘Sakal’, a leading daily of Maharashtra.
From the desk
Let me tell you how this forum –‘Poona Citizen Doctors Forum’ began. On behalf of SATHI-CEHAT I conducted a study of problems of doctors who are trying to practice ethically. I met 78 doctors across India to interview them with the help of a questionnaire that basically inquired about their opinion on present status of private healthcare in India. These doctors spoke their heart out. What I experienced was a sort of whistle blower outburst of frustration among doctors about growing stark commercialization of the profession.
Based on this study I wrote a book in Marathi – ‘Kaifiyat’ published by Manovikas Prakashan with foreword by Dr Prakash Amte. For the English version, DrAbhay Shukla wrote a second part about the solution to this problem of unethical practices and this expanded book -‘Dissenting Diagnosis’ – was published in August 2016 by Penguin, India. There was a very positive response to this book from many people; it also attracted a lot of media attention. Many doctors who are trying ethical practice supported me, whereas some were furious, arguing that I gave a bad name to their profession! (It is my profession too, they forgot)
But most importantly, hundreds of people supported me. They appreciated that the book is not for doctor bashing but to highlight suffocation felt by ethical rational doctors. Many citizens from Pune came to meet me. They included distinguished persons from various strata of society. A frequently asked question was – How could we find an ethical rational doctor? Why not form a forum in Pune comprising both citizen and doctors to support doctors trying to do ethical practice (an endangered species!) and to help citizen find one? We decided to form such a forum and to use the method used by Hospital Guide Foundation, a Bangalore-based voluntary organization, established and managed by Indiritta Singh D’Mello, To try to identify ethical, rational doctors, Hospital Guide Foundation uses the feedback of the patients about the doctors they have visited. We decided to adopt this method by slightly improving upon it. Our method is based primarily on the feedback given by patients by answering our structured questionnaire. The rating about the doctors would be automatically generated by this feedback based on a scoring system prepared by the PCDF, and not through any subjective judgment by PCDF. The web site just shares the names of doctors who some patients have found to be patient friendly.
We met some renowned doctors and citizen of Pune and we are happy and encouraged that some renowned personalities happily agreed to be on our advisory team.
We are offering to people some way – a platform for referring and searching for patient-friendly, ethical, rational doctors in Pune. We reckon that it is not possible for patients to assess through their experience whether a doctor is rational, ethical. But we feel that with the help of our questionnaire, they can broadly judge whether the doctor is patient-friendly and transparent or not. Such a doctor is likely to be rational, ethical, though there are some who appear patient-friendly yet the content of their practice is not scientific, ethical. We understand that this method is not that smooth and flawless but we said to ourselves – why not try something constructively? We would make improvements as we gather more experience.
The website – www.medimitra.org prepared by PCDF will be a platform for refereeing and searching patient friendly, rational, ethical doctors. It will have an appeal for doctors referred by the patients to get registered at www.ethicaldoctors.org.
We are trying to bridge the gap between patient-friendly, ethical rational doctors and patients. We are sure that over the time we would be able to build a robust platform which will be replicated in many more cities. We of course do not claim that all patient friendly, ethical, rational doctors in Pune would be found on this web site. The list would be modified as we get more and more feedback.
We need and we are sure that we would get support from doctors, citizen and the media.
With warm regards,
Dr. Arun Gadre