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Experts Talk
Prof Dinesh Dhanwal
Prof of Medicine and Head of Endocrinology,
Maulana Azad Medical College,
New Delhi
DoctorNDTV: What, according to you, are the attributes of a good doctor?
Prof Dinesh Dhanwal: Apart from good subject expertise, a good doctor needs to be a good human being first and should think from patients' perspective. He must find out the real reason for patients visiting him as each patient has certain expectations from the doctor and these expectations are specific in nature. The second most important thing is maintaining ethical practice. In India, public has started having a feeling that hospitals have become business centres to make money and it is our duty to allay this anxiety.
DoctorNDTV: What is your opinion about medical training in India? Why are we not able to retain talent?
Prof Dinesh Dhanwal: The most urgent need is to have a uniform standard of education. In India, we have best of the institution and the worst as well but there should be a minimum standard and that needs to be maintained. With coming up of so many private institutions, this situation has worsened. We have talent; a small number of doctors are going to west specially US; I think that's OK if we are able to maintain good standard of education for the rest. Doctors going outside are doing a great job and bringing good name to our country and some of them are returning now.
DoctorNDTV: Do you think health information websites are useful? What are your views about DoctorNDTV?
Prof Dinesh Dhanwal: In my opinion, health information websites are very useful. These give independent opinion to patients and public, which acts as second opinion for them. DoctorNDTV is doing a great job not only for Indians abroad but also for the whole world. In the West, it is very difficult to get opinion from the doctor of your choice as it is too expensive; routine dates are quite long and the information on DoctorNDTV.com helps them to know more about their problem and what they expect from their doctor. A vast information about general health and diseases is available on this website.
DoctorNDTV: Why did you choose your present job?
Prof Dinesh Dhanwal: At present, I am a Professor in a teaching hospital and the job gives me immense satisfaction. I am involved with a few global clinical trials as well. It involves teaching, research and patient care, which may be not be feasible in other settings.
DoctorNDTV: Could you describe your typical working day?
Prof Dinesh Dhanwal: I start my day at 7.50 am when I leave for hospital and start work by 8.30 am. On a typical day, I have patient care - OPD or indoor ward rounds. I also have one or two clinical classes for students, attend seminars and have meetings with the research team. I get back home by 6.00 pm and then spend the rest of the time with my family. I spend a few hours a week at library as well.
DoctorNDTV: Does the Indian health care system have any problems? If yes, how would you tackle these?
Prof Dinesh Dhanwal: Yes, the most important is the disparity between the health care provided to our population. Government hospitals are too crowded to impart quality health care to public with few exceptions. Private hospitals are too expensive for an average person though they provide better care than government hospitals. We do need to have a proper referral system so that there is segregation between primary, secondary and tertiary care.
DoctorNDTV: Is there anything you think must be done for the better health for all?
Prof Dinesh Dhanwal: Utilisation of available health budget properly is important. The government needs to increase budget allocation to health care with priority on prevention of diseases. Schools should have health as an important topic in Science subject so that youth are aware of health problems in India and how can they lead a healthy life. With changing lifestyle, India is in epidemic of non-communicable diseases like diabetes, heart diseases etc.
DoctorNDTV: What would you have been if not a doctor?
Prof Dinesh Dhanwal: A civil servant, as I feel that as a civil servant one gets opportunities to do something different for society.
DoctorNDTV: Who is the person you admire the most or are most influenced by?
Prof Dinesh Dhanwal: I admire my elder brother, Dr Rakesh Kumar, who is an honest civil servant and is doing a lot for society. Once he was nominated for Prime Minister's award as well.
DoctorNDTV: What has been the professional achievement that has made you most proud?
Prof Dinesh Dhanwal: Patient satisfaction is the best award for me but I did get a few awards, which make me feel proud notably:
  • Commonwealth Fellowship Award from Commonwealth Commission 2009
  • AV Gandhi award in endocrine excellence in 2003-04
  • Asia Oceania Distinguished Young Investigator Award from Japanese Society of Nuclear Medicine in 2001 and 2004
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