Saturday, July 21, 2012

Health officials crack down on bogus docs

Health officials crack down on bogus docs

Alarmed by the sharp increase in the number of bogus medical practitioners providing ‘treatment’ to unsuspecting patients, officials from the district health office (DHO) have been conducting continuous raids on such quacks, with the help of police officials.

This follows the government resolution (GR) issued by the Medical Education and Food and Drugs Department of the state government in the year 2000. According to statistics available with the DHO, they have booked as many as 67 bogus doctors practicing in the district as of May, 2012. Cases were registered against 40 doctors, while 11 are sub judice. Similarly, 15 doctors, who were carrying on their businesses illegally, have shut down their clinics after the DHO initiated action.

“As per the GR, every district administration has been asked to form a district-level review committee, which will ensure that strict action is taken against such quacks. This committee has to meet at regular intervals, and plan a proper line of action to arrest these fraudsters. This committee is headed by the district collector with the officials from the health, police and other departments as the members,” an official from district health office said, on condition of anonymity.

In its meeting held on June 18, the DHO tabled a detailed statistical data of the quacks operating in the district, following which the committee passed a directive to take stricter action against the offenders.

“Besides giving proper guidelines on how to go about this ongoing process of arresting bogus doctors who ply their ‘trade’ from small and crowded areas by taking rooms or shops on rent, the committee was of the opinion that the landlords who let out their premises to such illegal professionals should first verify their credentials. They (the owners) should contact the local primary health centre, and check the authenticity of these medical practitioners by verifying their documents and other certificates. If any landlord lets out his premises to such quacks without checking the papers, action will be taken against him,” the official added.

Of the 67 fake doctors arrested in the district in the first five months of 2012, Palghar taluka was found to have a maximum of 19, while 18 cases were registered at Murbad taluka. No such cases were found in Jawhar, Wada, Talasari, Vasai and Ambernath talukas. The DHO had registered 128 cases against bogus doctors during the same period in 2011.

“Going by the figures, this year the cases have fallen by almost 50%, which means that our drive against these quacks has been successful, and we will continue the same, so that this blatant violation of law is stopped and this noble profession is saved from them,” the official added.

The official said that upon verifying that the practicing doctor is a bogus one, a complaint is filed against him at the police station under whose jurisdiction the area comes, and accordingly a case is registered under sections 33, 33A and 38 of the Maharashtra Medical Practitioners Act, 1961. If found guilty, the accused is subjected to rigorous imprisonment of two to ten years.

A senior police official said that the entire operation was conducted by the health officials, and the police department had to accompany them during the drive so as to prevent any untoward incident.

“The health department is provided six policemen, two officers and four constables, in the zone where they plan the drive. The police officials also help their counterparts from the health department in filing the complaints. Other than this, the police has very little role to play in this drive,” the police official added.

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