Verification Of Professional Degrees
Among other things, doctors as a profession and Healthcare as an industry share a common need a good reputation. For doctors their good name is as important as their medical skills and abilities. For hospitals, an excellent reputation is as desirable as modern equipment and the best facilities.
A good name, like good will, is got by many actions and lost by one.. Lord Jeffery
When the good name is brought into disrepute it is the hardest of tasks to remedy. That is precisely the predicament in which Delhi hospitals find themselves.
Over the last few months there has been a spate of reports in various media about unscrupulous people practicing medicine and masquerading as doctors. They have been carrying on their wicked work without the education, training or qualifications to do so. These quacks have even infiltrated the sanctums of private hospitals and are no more confined to the narrow lanes and backstreets of crowded slums and unauthorized colonies.
Reports reveal that the problem is rather large and widespread. Large enough to be alarming. The, now dissolved, Medical Council of India had estimated that the number of quacks operating in the Delhi region would be about 40,000! Now compare that number with 45,000 (DMC database), which is the number of genuine registered doctors.
The erstwhile Medical Council of India (MCI) and the Delhi Medical Council (DMC) have been working hard to get a grip on the problem and clean out the Augean stables. As a result of their efforts some 25 fake doctors were discovered working in respected private hospitals. These quacks have been suspended – with police cases filed against them – and are now enmeshed in the judicial process.
The lesson to be taken from these findings is that hospitals should wake up quickly to the vital necessity of verifying the educational and medical qualifications and antecedents of the medical staff they hire. They cannot afford being tarnished by the bad reputation that comes with hiring quacks and other unqualified medical personnel.
Background Screening and authentication of education qualifications should be rigorously carried out along with checks of professional degrees and references. These checks are especially crucial in an industry such as healthcare where the price of wrong hiring could be the loss of a life.
In a recent AuthBridge study, Background Screening Trends: October 08 July 09 it was found that 69% of discrepant cases relating to education were due to fake/forged documents. The bigger picture is even more disquieting. They show that 30% of all the cases we handled were discrepant – for a variety of reasons. Of these the majority pertained to false and fake qualifications. While these statistics do not directly relate to the medical profession, it is a pointer to what could be the magnitude of the problem facing it.
While hospitals of all hues and sizes need to be alive to the seriousness of the problem, it is also important for the various medical governing bodies to conduct checks of their own. They too have to retain their good name and integrity of their associations. The reconstituted Medical Council of India has to work, now and in its future avatar, to safeguard its international reputation too.