London, Sep 4: Many doctors working in India's private hospitals are under pressure to carry out unnecessary tests and procedures to meet revenue targets, says a report published in the journal The BMJ.
"Doctors who face pressure from hospital management to overprescribe surgeries or investigations fear for their livelihood," explained Gautam Mistry, a Kolkata-based cardiologist.
"Also they need to practise for a certain number of years, and by complaining they would be jeopardising their career," he pointed out.
Pune-based gynaecologist Arun Gardre said the main aim of multispeciality hospitals in India is to generate revenue and profits for their investors.
"In the race to earn higher profits, conscience takes a back seat, and doctors are encouraged to indulge in unethical practices," Gardre noted.
However, some doctors, including Devi Shetty, chairman of the Narayana Health Group which runs 32 hospitals for profit in 20 locations in India and abroad, disagree about the ubiquity of financial targets for doctors.
According to Shetty, setting financial goals for a doctor is not a common practice in India,
Narayana's hospitals do not set financial targets for doctors but do set performance targets to raise efficiency, Shetty said.
The Medical Council of India is responsible for institutional regulation of medical services, explains Bangalore-based journalist Meera Kay who wrote the BMJ report.
"But the MCI's reputation is in tatters -- its inability to collect data on alleged medical negligence and general failure to bring prosecutions instill no confidence," said Kay wrote in the report published on Thursday.