M A I N   N E W S

Quacks at work in top hospitals too
2 lakh fake docs operating in India; MCI registered 41 FIRs last year
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 30
If you thought shady alleys in remote corners of villages and cities alone could house quacks, think again.

Over the past one year, health authorities have detected close to 20 fake doctors operating in some of the most reputed multi-speciality hospitals in and around the Capital. These include Batra Hospital; Max Balaji Hospital, an ISO-certified heart care facility; Dharamsila Cancer Hospital, one of the best cancer hospitals in India; Shanti Mukund Hospital; Sant Parmanand Hospital; Deepak Memorial and Action Balaji hospitals.

The highest cases of quacks (doctors operating on fake degrees) -- seven -- were discovered in Shanti Mukund hospital, which last year triggered a survey across NCR (national capital region) to detect if more such impersonators had made it to reputed hospitals where people took quality for granted.

“We found the trend to be pervasive and immediately tipped off Director, Health Services, Delhi, to instruct hospitals in the region to get their doctors verified. The verification drive yielded shocking results. We found 20 quacks had been working in the above-mentioned hospitals which are of good repute. We registered FIRs in all these cases for fake medical certificate registration. Most of these fake doctors are now out of the hospital system,” Dr Girish Tyagi, Registrar, Delhi Medical Council, today confirmed to The Tribune.

He however conceded that this might just be the tip of the iceberg, considering that two lakh fake doctors (quacks) are in operation in the Indian medical system, as per latest estimates. Of these, 30,000 are in the Capital alone.

Over the last year, Medical Council of India has registered 41 FIRs in fake medical certificate cases across the country. The MCI authorities further admit that rates of conviction under the existing anti-quackery provisions are negligible. In Delhi, there has been no conviction in such cases despite the Delhi Medical Council Act being in place since 1997.

The MCI now says there is an urgent to pass the first comprehensive anti-quackery legislation it prepared way back in 2003. The draft bill, which since then has been gathering dust in the health ministry, proposes to cover all three forms of medicine in India — allopathy; homeopathy and ayurveda — and recommends exemplary punishment.

“We have proposed stringent punishment under the draft bill. Anyone found committing the first offence would be charged a fine of Rs 1 lakh and sentenced to a rigorous imprisonment of one year. On the second offence, the fine should be raised to Rs 5 lakh and the rigorous imprisonment to 3 years or both. Also, we have recommended similarity in the treatment of quackery cases irrespective of the system of medicine involved,” Dr Vedprakash Mishra of the MCI today told TNS after the National Human Rights Commission rapped the health authorities for negligible action on the issue.

The Commission interacted today with the health secretaries of states and Central government officials to know what they were doing to ensure patient safety.



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