October 12, 2008

Hospitals bank on star doctors, get patients to check in

With seven-star super-specialty hospitals mushrooming across the Capital, it was only a matter of time before doctors became brands in themselves. And former AIIMS director Dr P Venugopal’s recent announcement — that he would join Alchemist Hospital group — has come in a line of ‘star’ movements of late.
When doctors like P Venugopal, Naresh Trehan or Ashok Seth move not just their patients, even the medical fraternity sits up and takes note. For, as many doctors admit off the record, moving a team of doctors from their previous base, and patients along with them, means big business. By securing eminent cardiac surgeon Dr Venugopal’s services the Alchemist group has already ensured that it is in news — even before setting up shop in Chandigarh.

“Doctors becoming stars is a great thing and I am all for it, only as long as doctors act responsibly,” Union Health Minister Dr Anbumani Ramadoss says. “If someone like Dr Trehan recommends jogging every day people will follow, but when I say the same thing it will draw flak.

“Star doctors must keep in mind that they are setting an example.”

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