New Delhi: Patients visiting private hospitals in India feel kind of captive there, their minds full of all sorts of apprehensions; that they would be fleeced, they would be operated even if there were no need, bla bla bla. They felt like having no one to turn to. But this may end now, what with largest consortium of private hospitals AHPI launching a forum where patients’ grievances might get patient hearings and be fairly redressed.
The fact that the forum was inaugurated by Dr Devi Shetty of Narayana Health fame, whose patient friendly stories abound, the Patient Grievance Redressal Forum of AHPI (Association of Healthcare Providers of India) can boast of a good measure of credibility. This amply underlines that healthcare providers are in earnest and want to clear the air of unfounded slur hurled at them.
Dr. Devi Shetty, renowned Heart Surgeon, Patron and Founder, AHPI said that “The nation-building exercise basically depends upon multiple institutions like Court of law, Government, Educational institutions. Today we may take such institutions for granted but back in time some people had started some of the institutions with a view of making our lives comfortable, and over the years such institutions, forums etc. became essential parts of our lives. Initially, every great institution starts with a crazy idea. Some people believe in it and some may not, but it makes history if it honestly adds to the value of mankind. Today we are dreaming to provide a platform to listen to the grievances of the patients; I will not be surprised if in 5 to 10 years from now this platform gets recognized as one of the prime legal entity in our country.”
“We are confident mainly because patients go to the courts with their complaints but there is nobody to explain them their rights, claims etc. as it is highly required and with this endeavor there will be the existence of a forum consisting of healthcare providers of course not from same hospitals to assist them. It will surely be a path breaking institution, it will be a great help to the thousands of hospitals and patients. I sincerely thank my other team members for the cooperation and faith in the idea”, Dr Shetty added
The forum has been instituted with twin aims of educating patients and listening to their grievances as consumers while availing services from private healthcare providers. Along with patients’ rights as consumers, medical negligence is some of the issues that need to be resolved with some mediation, as legal complexities of such grievances are generally out of the basic understanding of the patients and their families.
The AGRF will provide them guidance and help; it will work as a mediator between concerned hospitals and patients and keep them well informed which will help to make the process smooth without unwanted delays and save precious time for both parties. Dr Shetty, inaugurated the forum in the presence of Dr. Alexander Thomas, President, AHPI, Cdr. Navneet Bali, National Convener, AHPI, Mr. RP Singh, Secretary-General of Quality Council of India (QCI), Dr. Venkat Rao, Chairman, AHPI Patients Grievance Redressal Forum and Dr. Girdhar Gyani, Member Secretary, AHPI. All AHPI state chapter representatives also participated in the programme.
APGRF is made up of a number of member organizations related to healthcare consumer groups such as national level pensioner associations, state health consumer organizations, health consumer organizations and networks dedicated to health conditions with a general interest in healthcare consumer affairs. APGRF networking partners will help in coordinating and reaching out to large percentage of patients/ health consumers across the country.
Dr. Venkat Rao, Chairman, AHPI Patients Grievance Redressal Forum conveyed his appreciation to the participating members at the inauguration and said that “we have faith in the forum that it will live up to the objectives it is designed for. We are extremely grateful to have to help and assist our patients and add to the value of our healthcare system.”
In absence of FORUM like being launched, the patients tend to seek legal help, without adequate knowledge about their rights and responsibilities and other aspects of the case. In most cases, it results in lots of hassles for patients as well as for hospitals. The prime objective of the forum is to promote the rights and responsibilities of patients through dialogue with healthcare providers. Patients can email on firstname.lastname@example.org with their grievances and the Forum will address the issue.