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Supreet Singh Nayyar, AFMC


Consumer Protection Act in Medicine

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Introduction Charakss oath (1000 B.C) and Hippocratic oath (460 B.C.) historically illustrates the duties and responsibilities of doctors Doctors were initially held in high esteem With increasing globalization & awareness increased litigations Doctors are liable under the prevailing laws such as o Civil Penal Code o Indian Penal Code o Law of Contractors o Sale of Goods Act o Law of Torts o IMC (Indian Medical Council Act) The above mentioned laws have some drawbacks such as:1. Delay in Justice 2. Huge legal fee 3. Limited access to the courts 4. Difficulties involved in proving both negligence and cause 5. Deficiency in IMC Act; Such as: a. Lack of Provision to receive complaints from patients b. To award any compensation when negligence proven Alternative is CPA 1986. Aims at simplification of procedures for seeking redressal of grievances of patients or their relatives Process can be initiated without any cost or without any court fee

Who is liable:

1. 2. 3. 4.

Doctors with independent practice rendering only free services Private hospitals charging all All hospital having free as well as paying patients Doctors/hospitals paid by an Insurance firm for treatment of a client or an employer for the treatment of an employee.

Who is not liable:


Doctors in hospitals which do not charge of their patients

Dr. Supreet Singh Nayyar, AFMC



Hospitals offering free services to all patients

Strength. Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats (SWOT) analysis of the situation (CPA vs medical profession ) Strengths Weaknesses

Noble profession Giant strides in the medical profession Strong consumer movement in the country The Hippocratic Oath Vigilant press

Highly technical orientation of the Medical field Declining credibility of medical Profession. Growing commercialization of medical profession Highly prevalent professional jealousy Lack of objectivity and empirical nature of several regimens Inept medical record keeping Lack of sufficient staff in the consumer forums Huge back log in clearing medical cases in consumer forums. Threats


Growing patient consciousness Successful application of the CPA to other services/goods. Introducing medical audit. Possibility of strengthening of MCI Agreeing to the application of CPA Realization of need for regular CME programmes. Proven instances of medical negligence.

Low level of awareness among patient. Illiteracy and low socioeconomic Status of patients. Exaggerated claims encouraged by mercenary type lawyers. Tendency of insurance companies to opt for out of court settlements. Strong opposition extended by the IMA. Growing urge to practice defensive medicine

Dr. Supreet Singh Nayyar, AFMC


Preventions in view of CPA

A) Primary Prevention:

Good communication and informed consent Defensive Medicine

B) Secondary prevention: Some cases of negligence or deficiency of services will come up to the Court or Forum even after adequate precautions are taken. The State Medical Council should be better empowered and have a separate complaints cell Accreditation of Hospital Quality Assurance programme in every hospital. Regular patient satisfaction surveys Proper Medical Records

C) Tertiary prevention:

The following innovative methods are being practiced in the Western world to counter the adverse outcome of the CPA, in India also these practices may be emulated. Medical indemnity insurance Counter Suits In order to prevent harassment from overzealous patients, in some of the advanced countries the medical professionals have started the concept of counter suits In this the doctors initiate counter suits against patients for being sued without valued grounds

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