People can save the world by the way they think, the way they behave and what they hold to be important. A small group of retired professionals is out in Chandigarh to guide and help the people achieve and maintain good health without falling into the trap of corporate hospitals, medical professionals and those loading the masses with unwanted pharmaceutical drugs.

This group of retired doctors and civil servants have come together to launch a new experiment by floating an organization called’ S P E A K’ which stands for Society For Promotion of Ethical and Affordable Care.

It is originality by a group of doctors who affirm that a doctor should understand the responsibility better than the privilege and practice accountability better than business.

This society has three main objectives, first being the social advocacy. Through it, they assay to bring down the cost of various procedures by reasoning, advocacy and appeal to private and public organizations. At the same time it will endeavour to educate the public at large to have faith in the profession and not to paint the entire health workers' community black.

Second is the patient information that will promote medical literacy in general and health education of the people especially those requiring healthcare through a website that they have launched and intend to make it the mouth piece of healthy India.

They have made this website an interactive one where questions can be asked and guidance given about the nature of ailment or the type of doctor to be consulted.

The third and the last is the free first aid cum guidance counter which they intend to set up pretty soon.

SPEAK founder Dr R Kumar told The Citizen that the best doctor gives least medicines. “We are in the age of MD, Medical Darkness, which seeks legislative protection from the light,” he says in a lighter vein.

This retired expert from the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), the renowned public sector health institute in Chandigarh, makes no qualms in admitting that while a doctor’s responsibility was to heal, now most of them indulge in a racket by quaking the patients.

A doctor working with one of the corporate hospitals told this reporter that doctors are given targets to perform specific number of operations and have to prescribe as many tests as they can. These targets are set by the human resource teams and their pay packet depends on their achievement of these targets.

“Being a doctor is a enterprising job nowadays .As they have to go for camps, give panic attacks to the patients and market them well as the exclusive saviours so that they get patients in their OPD days. If they fail to do it, the number of OPD days of specific doctor is reduced which means lesser patients and low business. Finally it is a goodbye for them,” she related.

Dr Ram Kumar pointed at the over conscious patients. “Internet has made them guinea pigs for self performed medications. Not even an innocent sneeze goes unnoticed. Both the extremes are taking a toll on each other. This mentality needs a rectification. In most of the common diseases medicines are not required.”

As he puts it perfectly that “A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s books”.

Therefore under SPEAK; a core group of doctors are coming together for the promotion of ethical and affordable healthcare on the one hand and protection, preservation and restoration of the pristine glory of ‘noble medical profession’ on the other.

Dr S.K Aggarwal, another one of the founder members, believes that there are several causes leading to medical the malpractices. One of them is the high capitation fees which people shell out in private colleges. He says, “These days the aptitude of students is low and the bank balance in their parents' account is huge, of course expectations excluded. They buy the seats and then indulge in malpractices.” Social hobnobbing too has taken a toll in this stratum.

SPEAK members believe the way the nexus of doctors, medical testing labs, medicine companies working through medical representatives and health insurance companies give cold feet to the needy is abhorrent. They point out that the money minting craze has crossed all barriers of humanity. They point towards the avoidable and over-priced surgeries like cataract and glaucoma, uterus removal and caesarean deliveries, knee and hip joint replacements, cardiac stent insertions and bye pass surgery; unnecessary laboratory and imaging investigations like MRI and CT Scans, too many annual and emergency blood tests to make their point. Many hospitals fleece the insurance companies and the government, if they are paying the bills.

Anil Sharma a retired engineer who is a part of SPEAK says, “It has been around eight to nine months since when we are exasperating to get our battle against the commercialization of medical practices registered as an NGO but every time we are sent back to make some modulation in the documents. The intimidation to the commercial doctors is gargantuan but the vehemence and character of the members repudiate to give in and wants to stand for this well born cause as an all weather friend.”