Government organizations and officials of any field are looked down upon when it comes to accountability or how they go along with the proceedings. The scenario is the same in the medical field.
Government banks, government administrative offices, government finance offices, government schools, government offices, government shops, etc, are known for their poor administration, haphazard methods, and lack of communication. This leads to friction between the staff and the audience.
People simply prefer private options. People opt for private banks instead of the government, or people enroll their children in private schools instead of the government. However, here's the catch when it comes to healthcare. NOT ALL PEOPLE CAN SIMPLY GO TO PRIVATE HOSPITALS INSTEAD OF GOVERNMENT HOSPITALS!
Most of the people in India come from poor socio-economic backgrounds. They can't afford the hefty fees charged by private hospitals and practitioners. Neither do they have the proper insurance to cover these costs. They are mostly left with government options like a sub-center, primary healthcare center, sub-district hospital, rural hospital, or hospitals attached to a medical college.
Government hospitals are not known to be smooth service delivery providers. Government hospitals are usually known for their lack of administration across service delivery, human resources, financing, medical equipment, and governance. The doctors and staff working in government hospitals are largely affected by these loopholes, which leads to feelings of friction, burnout, lack of motivation, and accountability. Unfortunately, sometimes these feelings get displaced by the patient, which leads to added friction between the government doctors and the patients. Therefore, the transfer of friction happens like, Poor administration in Government hospitals --> Government Doctors --> Patients, and the vicious cycle continues.
Like any field or anything in life, there are good people and bad people. The actions of some people shouldn't tarnish the image of the entire government doctors' community. However, in this article, we will discuss why some government doctors are rude and why they behave the way they do.
Administrative and Infrastructural Issues -
There are very less government health centers in some areas, to begin with. There is either one primary health center (PHC) or one rural hospital. The entire workload of providing healthcare falls on that particular health center. The morning OPD is filled with a huge line of patients waiting for their turn. This results in the patients panicking and causing havoc, which further frustrates the doctor, who has to act a bit rudely to control the situation.
The same happens in the IPD section. The male ward, female ward, and maternal ward are usually filled with patients, and no matter the number of doctors, there is always a lot of commotion. Doctors do have to behave rudely in such situations.
Lack of Human Resources
Human resources and staffing have always been an issue in the government sector. Even though India is going well as per the doctor-patient ratio is concerned. Most of the PHCs and Sub-district hospitals have only one doctor. The lone doctor has to look at everything right from OPD care, IPD care, maternal ward, medicolegal cases, laboratory section, x-ray section, paperwork, and other proceedings going on in the health center like vaccinations, medicine stock, distribution, immunizations, etc.
Even in bigger government hospitals, a lot of specific services like gynecology OPD, pediatric OPD, laboratory, etc, are not open during the night. The line doctor on the night shift has to do everything alone and has to refer the patient to a tertiary government hospital if his center does not have the required services. This frustrates the doctor a lot, and he is compelled to be a bit harsh.
Lack of Financing
The doctors in government hospitals are paid less compared to their private counterparts. They are not even paid proper incentives or allowances. For example, a doctor working in a rural area is not paid enough for working in a remote place, in poor working conditions, and with limited resources.
This leads to a lack of motivation in the doctors to provide healthcare, and if something goes wrong, harsh and rude behavior comes out.
One of the biggest reasons that a government doctor is rude is burnout. A government doctor has to do a shift ranging from 12 to sometimes even 72 hours. At the end of his shift, he is already drained and has to act rudely if something happens.
The government doctor already has to deal with many other issues like poor working conditions, low pay, stress, etc.
Let's see what some of the healthcare professionals who have worked in government hospitals had to say when asked by MedBound Times about this issue.
"Government doctors can get a bit cranky at times. For example, when I used to work as a Medical officer in a sub-district hospital, it would get chaotic at times. I used to be the only doctor. The casualty was on the ground floor, and the wards were on the first floor. There were many instances when I would be required on both floors. An injured person would be admitted in the casualty on the ground floor, and delivery would be happening in the maternal ward on the first floor. I would have to assess the situation and assign an intern to one of the floors accordingly. This would always get me frustrated".
Dr. Sharma, Former Medical Officer at a Government Hospital
"I used to be very frustrated during night shifts. Night shifts would mostly have cases of chest pains. However, the hospital I used to work at didn't have an ECG. So I had to check the patient's blood pressure, give an anti-hypertensive if the blood pressure is high, and then refer the patient to a bigger hospital. They would get confused, but I had to orient them to the reasons why they were being referred. It would get me frustrated and I have to talk in a raised tone at times to deal with those situations."
Dr. Chavan, Resident Medical Officer at a Government Hospital
"Night shifts would have a lot of patients who would be under influence of alcohol. Since they are going through health conditions, we have to allow them to enter the hospital. However, they end up creating havoc. They usually have acidity from alcohol but complain of severe stomach aches. Even if the person has a history of renal calculi (kidney stones), I don't have a sonography in the hospital to check. I usually have to refer the patient, which leads to more confusion and I get frustrated."
Dr. Kazi, RMO at a Government Hospital
Let's see what some of the patients who have visited the government hospitals had to say when asked by MedBound Times about this issue.
Mr. Patel, a retired individual from Mumbai
"Government hospitals are good to avoid unnecessary expenditure, however, they can function a bit better. The doctors can give some more time and the process should be a bit smoother."
Mrs. Mhatre, a teacher in Mumbai
"I usually have mixed experience with government hospitals. The doctors should give more time to the patients. They have a huge workload, but not even examining the patient properly and behaving rudely on top of that is unacceptable."
Mr. Shaikh, an engineer in Mumbai
"Most of the government doctors are arrogant in their behavior. I only visit private clinics and hospitals."
The above article and opinion make it clear that there is distrust amongst government doctors and people. However, both parties should do their bit to make healthcare a better experience. Doctors can be a bit polite in their approach. Patients should also understand the underlying problems of a doctor and should make an effort to not make things unnecessarily difficult. Some doctors can be rude and arrogant by their nature. The hospital administration should look into such scenarios and take appropriate measures.