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MCI wants docs to spend at least 10 mins with each patient

NEW DELHI: The Medical Council of India (MCI) feels that a doctor should spend more than 10 minutes per patient in an OPD and much more time if the case is complicated.

In an informal conversation with TOI, MCI governing body member Dr Purushottam Lal said doctors not giving enough time to patients has become a common complaint.

Dr Lal, who is also a member of the Delhi Medical Council, cited that at least 80% of the present consumer court cases filed against doctors or hospitals by families of patients is “because of lack of communication”.

“I feel doctors should spend at least 10 minutes with every patient in an OPD, and more time if it’s a complex case. Patients must be satisfied. At present, most patients complain that their doctors hardly explain the condition of the patient causing major anxiety,” Dr Lal said.

He added, “Some doctors in India charge astronomical fees but hardly spend any time with the patient. Family counselling must be made mandatory. This will improve doctor-patient relationships. We will soon start a survey to quantify how much time doctors spend with their patients in India.”

The Union health ministry is also writing to the MCI to specify how much time doctors should spend with their patients so that the regimen of medicines being prescribed to them is clear.

A recent World Medicines Situation 2011 report brought out by the World Health Organization (WHO) – as reported by TOI first -said that doctors, on an average, in developing countries spend less than 60 seconds in prescribing medicines and explaining the regimen to their patients.

Consequently, only half of the patients receive any advice on how to take their medicines and about one-third of them don’t know how to take drugs immediately on leaving the facility.

Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad had said last Friday that the government proposes to issue an advisory to the MCI to disseminate appropriate instructions among all registered medical practitioners.

According to WHO, the dispensing process greatly influences how medicines are used. The WHO database shows that the dispensing time is only one minute. “Under such circumstances it is not surprising that patient adherence to medicines is poor,” the report said.

Azad had said, “The doctor population ratio is not favourable in our country. Hence, there is tremendous pressure on the doctors serving in public sector hospitals. This may be the major reason for patients getting less than adequate time for consultation.”

MCI’s own assessment says India has just one doctor for 1,700 people. In comparison, the doctor population ratio globally is 1.5:1,000. MCI has set a target to have one doctor for 1,000 people by 2031.

The assessment note, available with TOI, also looked at the situation in other countries. China’s doctor population ratio stands at 1:1,063; South Korea 1:951; Brazil 1:844, Singapore 1:714, Japan 1:606; Thailand 1:500; UK 1:469; the US 1:350 and Germany 1:296.

Sources:- Times Of India

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