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 Table of Contents  
LETTER TO EDITOR
Year : 2014  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 25

Scope of consumer protection act in medical profession in India


Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Web Publication21-Jul-2014

Correspondence Address:
Saurabh R Shrivastava
3rd Floor, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai village, Thiruporur Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram 603 108, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1595-9587.137250

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How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Scope of consumer protection act in medical profession in India. J Clin Sci 2014;11:25

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Scope of consumer protection act in medical profession in India. J Clin Sci [serial online] 2014 [cited 2019 May 27];11:25. Available from: http://www.jcsjournal.org/text.asp?2014/11/1/25/137250

Sir,

The Consumer Protection Act (CPA) is a comprehensive legislation implemented in the year 1986 in India to promote and safeguard the concerns of consumers. [1] Under the act, six different consumer rights, namely right to choose, right to be heard, right to education of customer, right to seek redress, right to be informed, and right to safety, have been included to protect the customers. [1] For the smooth execution, consumer councils and consumer courts have been established in the district, state and central level to settle the consumers' disputes. [2] The CPA was enforced in India as people were reluctant to avail the services of the civil courts owing to the excessive court fee and a long delay to get a final verdict. [2] CPA has been formulated to be customer-friendly, as there is no court fee payment, the person can plead their own case, and the decision is taken within 3-6 months. [1]

The doctor-patient relationship relies on the mutual trust and conviction. [3] However, over the years owing to the commercialization of the health care and the medical profession, the profession has run out of faith. [3] The law is not enforced to penalize all health care professionals that cause injury to the patients; but is concerned only with negligent acts. [4] The CPA provides a forum to safeguard the rights of the customers and establishes guidelines for the speedy redress of their grievances against unethical medical practices. [1],[2]

All service rendered to a patient by a medical practitioner is covered under the CPA except when the service is provided free of cost, especially in charitable or governmental dispensaries and hospitals, and primary health centers. [2] If a patient or the relations of a patient feel that the suffering or death of a patient is because of either negligence by the concerned doctor or the health facility, they can complain to the Medical Council of India or to the Consumer Court. [1] The Act covers all the medical practitioners and does not limit itself to the allopathic system in order to ensure accountability and keep a check on quackery by non-allopathic practitioners. [4] Similar sorts of acts has even been implemented across the world and has shown encouraging results in the field of medical care. [5]

Despite the rise in the number of cases that are filed against medical practitioners since enforcement of the Act, a study has revealed poor awareness among the medical and dental professionals. [6] Further, it has been observed that the quality of medical services offered to the ordinary man has also improved significantly since implementation of the act. [6] Thus, there is an immense need to update the understanding about the Act among all the stakeholders - patient, doctors, and hospital management. [2],[3],[4]

To conclude, medical professionals should internalize quality-assured health standards in their routine professional duties, to ensure protection of customer rights. The enforcement of the consumer protection act is a crucial step in ensuring reforms in doctor-patient relationship and to benefit the patient, doctor, and society in general in years to come.

 
  References Top

1.Park K. Medicine and social sciences. In: Park K, editor. Textbook of Preventive and Social Medicine. 20 th ed. Jabalpur: Banarsidas Bhanot; 2009. p. 606.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.Gupta MC, Mahajan BK. Health and law. In: Roy RN, editors. Textbook of Preventive and Social Medicine. 4 th ed. New Delhi: Jaypee publishers; 2013. p. 140-41.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.Banerjee A, Sanyal D. Dynamics of doctor-patient relationship: A cross-sectional study on concordance, trust, and patient enablement. J Fam Commu Med 2012;19:12-9.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.Joga Rao SV. Medical negligence liability under the consumer protection act: A review of judicial perspective. Indian J Urol 2009;25:361-71.  Back to cited text no. 4
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  
5.Slabbert MN, Pepper MS. The consumer protection act: No-fault liability of health care providers. S Afr Med J 2011;101:800-1.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.Singh K, Shetty S, Bhat N, Sharda A, Agrawal A, Chaudhary H. Awareness of consumer protection act among doctors in Udaipur city, India. J Dent (Tehran) 2010;7:19-23.  Back to cited text no. 6
    




 

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