The complaints of cut practice are huge in Kashmir yet no takers from the government to stop it.
Cut practice – where a doctor, diagnostic center or a nursing home pays another doctor or hospital for referring patients – is pacing fast in valley. Doctors both at private and government hospitals refer their patients to a particular diagnostic center or nursing home to get their tests done which in turn stuff their pockets. This symbiotic relationship between doctors as well as to the laboratory technician or owner is proving heavy on the pocket of a commoner.
Javed Ahmad, suffering from a back problem some days ago went to an orthopedic for the treatment. He was advised many tests plus an MRI. But during consultation doctor made it a point that he should get it done from a particular lab only. “My doctor asked me to get it done from a particular lab only when I told him why not from others he said they are not correct enough.” There have been many incidents where doctors refused to accept the report when done from non-referred places. “I am a witness of how doctors deny to even see the reports if you get it done from some other lab,” says Zahoor Ahmad. The cut practice has reached an alarming state in Kashmir with every other doctor referring the patients to their desired places only.
“This fetches a doctor enough money that is why he refers his patient to a certain laboratory,” says a senior doctor wishing anonymity. “They get commission from laboratories for supplying them patient. If you talk about a simple x-ray only it can fetch a doctor atleast Rs 200.” Recommend any patient for a CT scan and a doctor receives a payment of anything between Rs 1000 to 2000 from a medical centre, doctor says. According to him this is a big business scandal where everyone is hand in glove. “It is a game where from top to bottom everyone is involved in scandalous activities be it a doctor or a technician or a one who gives license to them.” Despite of having evidences against the private clinics, government takes no action people complain. “The ones who issue a license is a bureaucrat, who also gets his commission, so why would he not get involved in this practice when his pockets are being fetched.”
The mushroom growth of private nursing homes and clinics has lead to another trend in Kashmir. These nursing homes come up with ads in newspapers that some doctor – with some good training is coming to Kashmir – for a particular disorder. Peopleget lured by these ads and are looted on the name of treatment. These then charge people heavily though the treatment is no different from the local doctors. “It was few days ago that I went to a doctor from Delhi, the consultation fee was Rs 1000 but the treatment was same as done by my own doctor,” says Rafiqa Shah. According to doctors it is another way to loot a commoner. “They are increasing poverty because a common man is being forayed by this practice though in a subtle way,” this doctor says. Prescribing tests for even minor ailments has become a common practice over here nowadays and all this is done just to procure money.
“The whole system has gone corrupt. The majority of doctors have introduced corruption into this noble profession,” he says. Even for minor headaches and infections a patient is advised to go through an array of tests. “Going to doctor means that you have to have some two to three tests without that your doctor is never satisfied,” says Mukhtar Ahmad. Apart from cut practice the business of opening up of
laboratories is quite flourishing in Kashmir owing to the money they charge. The rates of tests at these laboratories also depend upon the name they hold. “My daughter had to undergo some tests so we went to Lal Path Lab at Karanagar. I was taken aback when they charged me some Rs 4000 for three simple blood tests,” says Shamema. Shamema went to another lab which was just a mile away where she was charged half. “The scenario is quite bad and needs to be voiced else commoner will always be looted like this,” Mukhtar adds.