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Hospitals owned by docs out of Clinical Establishments Act

July 12, 2020 05:24 AM
Hospitals owned by docs out of Clinical Establishments ActRELIEF: Amendments will be made in Act in next assembly session, says minister

Ravinder Vasudeva

CHANDIGARH : After uproar by private hospitals over the Clinical Establishment Act, implemented from July 1, to regulate the functioning of more than 50-beded private hospitals, the government has decided to keep the health facilities owned individually by doctors out of the purview of the Act.

“The government has decided to keep hospitals having more than 50 beds owned by doctors out of the purview of the Act. A formal amendment in the Act will be done in the next assembly session,” Punjab health and family welfare minister Balbir Singh Sidhu said.

The Punjab cabinet had in May notified the Punjab Clinical Establishment (Registration and Regulation) Ordinance, 2020, applicable to clinical establishments having more than 50 beds.

The ordinance provides registration and regulation of clinical establishments in a professional manner to ensure compliance of clinical standards and protocols and transparency in the functioning of these establishments for fair and proper delivery of health services to the common man.

Terming the ordinance “anti-doctor” and “anti-public”, the Punjab chapter of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) held state-wide protests on June 23 and shut hospital OPDs leaving the patients in the lurch.

As per provision of the Act, the newly formed Punjab State Council, different from Punjab Medical Council, will regulate the functioning in these hospitals and would formulate rules and regulations, including insuring basic requirements in the hospital as per bed capacity and the professional fee being charged from the patients for a particular ailment.

The health minister said the idea behind regulating the fee and infrastructure through the Clinical Establishments Act was aimed at the hospitals against whom the department has received of complaints of overcharging.

Initially the government was not ready to soften its stand and all meetings of the IMA representatives with the government failed to reach any consensus. Following this, the IMA had threatened to go on strike amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We had been busy convincing the government that the hospitals owned by the doctors are not purely into profiteering business and there is a huge difference in the treatment charges in these hospitals as compared to facilities being run by business managements,” said IMA’s Punjab chapter president Dr Navjot Dahiya.

The IMA claims that doctors individually are already being governed by the Punjab Medical Council and he or she is liable for penalty and action by the council in case found involved in any unethical practice.

“The IMA is of the view that government should regulate functioning of all private hospitals, big or small, being run by non-doctors, but why to create unnecessary inspector raj when we are already being governed by so many laws,” Dahiya said.

Provision of the Act

A different council, headed by chairman, to be set-up will be set-up that will regulate these hospitals

This council will frame rules and regulations and the fee to be charged by these hospitals as per their infrastructure

The council will have the right to inspect these hospitals at any time and have powers to penalise these hospitals

At district-level, civil surgeons will have the powers to check these hospitals

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