21 September 2017, New Delhi: The recent incident of deaths in a government hospitals due to malfunctioning of equipment and lack of availability of oxygen, was an incident which was criticised by masses across the country. Unlike many European countries, Government hospitals in India are not the first choice for the patients’ due to their lethargic services and large crowds. LocalCircles conducted a set of polls to understand the perception the citizens have of the government hospitals in India. The polls received more than 32,000 votes.
Cases of corruption being reported from government hospitals are not unheard of. In the first poll, 74% said that corruption related to procurement/supplies is a common phenomenon at government hospitals while just 2% said that was not the case. 24% were not sure about it.
74% citizens feel corruption is common in Government Hospitals
In the second poll, 59% citizens agreed to the fact that theft and sale of supplies and medicines privately was a common phenomenon at government hospitals in their city. 3% respondents did not agree with it while 38% were unsure and decided not to answer.
59% citizens feel theft & private sale of supplies/medicines is common in Govt Hospitals
There have been many cases where the staff of government hospitals have been caught trying to sell medicines meant for the patients, to outsiders at a discounted price. Even the supplementary things like syringes and bandages are sold to outsiders through the back door. Most suppliers have to pay bribes to supply equipment/consumables in Govt hospitals from qualification to orders to getting their bills paid.
The third poll asked people the primary reason why they go to government hospitals. 15% said they trust them more than private hospitals and 16% said they go there due to their low costs. Surprisingly, a large 65% said they do not go to government hospitals at all and 4% said government hospitals are the only option in their city.
65% citizens don’t go to Government Hospitals
After corruption was identified as one of the root cause of poor quality of services in state government hospitals, the last poll asked consumers how can corruption be drastically reduced at state government hospitals in India. In response, 41% citizens said corruption can be reduced strengthening of state government anti-corruption unit, 18% said that it could be done by privatising these hospitals, 29% said making electronic procurement to procure supplies mandatory could help in reducing corruption and 12% were unsure about it. A total of 7,064 citizens voted on this poll.
State government’s anti-corruption unit can play a vital role in reducing corruption in government hospitals. Citizens also suggested that government hospitals should be brought under electronic surveillance and the staff caught indulging in corrupt practices should be identified and strict action should be taken against them.
41% citizens believe strengthening of State Government Anti-Corruption unite will reduce corruption in Government hospitals
The truth is that people who can afford to go to private hospital do not want to go to government hospital due to the long waiting time, bad services, insufficient equipment and lack of well qualified doctors. If Indian government hospitals have to come anywhere close to the top level medical services provided by the public healthcare system of many developed economies, then the government will have to take strict measures stop the wrong doings at these hospitals and elevate their service levels so that people feel confident in going there for treatment.
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