ORGANISED DACOITY IN COVID HOSPITALS WHOM TO BLAME? Dr.PVVSN Murthy, Consumer activist

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We are listening to several adverse repots against private hospitals, particularly Covid Centres in private hands. These hospitals are exploiting Covid patients who are scared of Corona infection. None of these hospitals are following government instructions with regard to charges and treatment protocol. If at all, one are two hospitals are good in this respect patients do not have information about it. Because they care for the patient not for publicity.

It is true that in the hour of crisis we should not blame individual doctors who are treating the patients at the risk of their lives. But at the same time nothing would prevent us to bring the bad hospitals to books.

It is painful to observe this organised dacoity. In fact Consumer Protection Act, 2019 provisioned establishment of Central Consumer Protection Authority, which is empowered to investigate in to such matters. As this authority is newly born still it is in teething problems. Unfortunately many of the Consumer Commissions in the country are defunct. Despite all these setbacks, consumers and consumer organisations must be vigilant on the nefarious activities of these hospitals. They can bring these activities in writing to the District health officials, District Collectors, A.P. State Covid-19 Nodal officer. Depending on the gravity of the problem they should call for a press meet.

Patient in a hospital is a consumer and he can question deficiency of service, abnormal hospital charges, frauds committed by hospitals, and even on unnecessary diagnostic tests, illegible writing on prescriptions and other health records. Individual consumers do not venture to file a complaint in the Consumer Commissions. In such a situation they can as well approach a consumer organisation to support him.

In these changing circumstances consumer organisations also have moral responsibility to protect consumer interests. It is really a good opportunity to prove that they are force to be reckoned with, than paper tigers.