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Sakaal Times
09 December 2010
By Shruti Khairnar
Pune, India

New IMA VP From City Charts Out Priorities
The national mental health programme, continuous medical education (CME) and doctor–patient relationship cells are the top priorities for city–based psychiatrist Dr Devendra Shirole who has been recently elected the national vice–president of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) for 2010–12.

Dr Shirole has previously been the president of the IMA Pune local branch and Maharashtra state branch.

A new initiative, doctor–patient relationship and grievance cells will be set up from the national up to district level to solve the many disputes between patients and doctors arising due to misunderstandings and lack of communication.

"The cell will consist of representatives from IMA, patient bodies, media, consumer forums and retired judges and will provide a free atmosphere unlike that of courts where disputes can be settled amicably," said Dr Shirole.

A doctor–doctor relationship cell is also planned to promote healthy competition amongst doctors, organising communication workshops and educating them on patient rights.

"The Maharashtra Medicare Service Persons and Medicare Service Institutions (Prevention of Violence and Damage of Property) Act has been passed three years ago, yet doctors don’t know about this act. We are planning to raise awareness regarding this and set up a committee to mediate between doctors and patients in extreme cases," he added.

Doctors now must complete thirty CME hours in order to renew their registration every five years.

Gear Up for Mental Diseases
"Around one per cent of India’s population suffers from schizophrenia and 10–15 per cent suffered from depression episodes. But we have only 3500 psychiatrists to cater to mental illnesses," said Dr Devendra Shirole.

According to the World Health Organisation, by 2020 depression will be second top cause of mortality and morbidity after heart attacks.

"In light of the increasing mental illnesses, proper implementation of the National Mental Health Programme (NMHP) launched by the Government of India in 1982 is a top priority of IMA," said Dr Shirole.

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