Dr Harjit Singh Bhatti is the present President, Resident Doctors’ Association (RDA) All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) New Delhi. Dr. Bhatti is also the National Convener, National Health for All Movement (NHFAM). He completed MBBS from NSCB govt. Medical College, Jabalpur, MP, after pursuing MBBS Dr. Bhatti did MD in Geriatric medicine from AIIMS, New Delhi. The young doctor has special interest in public health.
- What is your success mantra?
The only motto of my election campaign is to ease the life of doctors. We doctor live under tremendous pressure and stress. So winning a Resident Doctors’ Association (RDA) election which constitute around 1700 resident doctors and becoming President is not success but an opportunity to work for resident doctors of AIIMS and make their residency cheerful and stress free. So I don’t consider myself successful till I will transform residency at AIIMS.
- What are your plans for the expansion of RDA?
I think RDA AIIMS have the capability to lead doctors in the entire nation; it can be the voice of doctors. Indian doctor’s work under small association and lack inter communication with each other. The consequences are grave and in front of us. Even after working for 48-72 hours in a single shift we faces violence, legal actions from governments and patients, contractual recruitments, meager pay, no personal or family life, ill equipment hospitals and non supportive media, intellectuals and society. This is because people know only one side of the story which is smartly presented by politicians. When a patient dies due to any one’s fault, it is a doctor only who is answerable for it no one ever realized how smartly these politicians have made doctors vs patients. We both are trying to satisfy our ego by blaming each other but the epicenter of anger is lack of proper infrastructure and political commitment. With 1.4% of GDP for health care we can’t expect much. Now India have to listen our story, how to heal the healer. So my first and foremost task for expansion of RDA is to unite doctors from all parts of India and make them one voice. There is an age old saying that unity is strength now the time has come where we need to show our strength.
I am a National Convener of National Health for All Movement (NHFAM) whose primary function is to demand affordable, quality, accessible health care for public, which must be kept away from private sector.
- What are the challenges as an RDA President?
The biggest challenge is uniting doctors which will boost our association to work. RDA is a national level association and being a President of it: my contribution towards health must also reflect the caliber of RDA. Health care needs sudden reforms which is not possible without strong political commitment. RDA AIIMS will work from dawn to dusk to convince politicians to think for doctors’ welfare. Though government brought national health for all assurance 2017 but this assurance will not turn into reality if doctors remained silent.
At AIIMS we face difficulties in getting accommodation, poor quality of food served in messes, security of resident doctors etc.
- What special effort you will give for the betterment of facilities given to the patients visiting AIIMS, New Delhi?
This is my favorite question and very close to my heart because in a debate of overworked doctors and reluctant politicians the ultimate sufferer is the patient who is already suffering from a disease and now from a system. In my view system must also be included in the list of diagnosis and many patients who die because of poor infrastructure and non availability of proper resources must be written on the death certificate that he/she died because of system. Above all, they must also be given the status of martyr because they gave their life to their nation.
RDA is under consideration for many ways by which we can ease the life of patients and their attendants too. First of all, a helpline number will be made visible in all parts of hospital where people can call RDA for any kind of help or inquiry.
Secondly we see many patients lying on the floor or metro station coming from far off places. For such patients we are in communication with nearby shelters, vishram ghars where we can accommodate them on discounted rates. RDA can bear the cost of stay for very poor patients.
Thirdly we will provide food twice a week for all those patients and attendants, for such patients. Fourthly we will collect old cloths from doctors and distribute among poor patients who need them. For all these works we will take monetary contribution from all employees of AIIMS.
- Cases of doctors being manhandled are increasing, what is your comment?
According to the survey, 75% of doctors face violence at workplace. This is very unfortunate that after giving our 100 % and working with full enthusiasm in limited resources crippled health system, we doctor become victims of patients’ anger. After Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s appeal to stop violence against doctors from red fort and the instructions from Delhi high court to publish warnings, will surely restrict public to attack on doctors but I still believe that if government wants to make hospitals violence free then they have to equipped them. They have to provide an adequate staff and good quality resources. All this requires increase in public spending and seriousness of government towards health care.
- What is your view on “Clinical Establishment Act of West Bengal 2017”?
The approach towards health care by successive governments is wrong. It is because of these types of wrong approaches that we, the world’s fastest growing economy are performing extremely poor in health. Clinical establishment act of west Bengal 2017 is an example of this approach. Finding all faults in the working of doctors won’t give us desired result of health for all. Even if government takes legal action against all doctors of India this health care sector won’t improve. To reform health care, government must strengthen primary and secondary care facilities, provide financial risk protection to public, strong connectivity between three tiers of care like primary, secondary and tertiary, strengthen medical education system and recruit doctors on permanent posts with lucrative offers to work in rural areas.
- What message would you like to give to the students of medicines, your juniors?
Though I am not that big enough to advice something, but yes I want to say that never lose hope. I strongly believe that tomorrow will be better than today. This single sentence has changed my life. We doctors have the responsibility towards patient’s health. They are innocent and are suffers, every doctor should try to give their best to treat their patients. May God bless all, have a great future ahead.