Hospitals under Centre scanner
The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare will introduce a bill in Parliament in the Budget session that will make it compulsory for all clinics and hospitals, big and small, to register with a central regulatory authority, reports Sanchita Sharma.delhi Updated: Feb 03, 2010 00:14 IST
The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare will introduce a bill in Parliament in the Budget session that will make it compulsory for all clinics and hospitals, big and small, to register with a central regulatory authority.
The Clinical Establishment (Registration and Regulation Act) 2010 makes it mandatory for all hospitals and clinics, including one-doctor clinics, to provide the necessary treatment to stabilise a person brought to them in a medical emergency.
To ensure transparency, clinics will be asked to register electronically using web-based technologies and the information will be put up in the public domain. “All clinics, including those that that have been registered under any state law, will have to registered under the proposed legislation that seeks to regulate and standardise the quality of health services,” said Gayatri Mishra, deputy secretary (hospitals), Union health ministry.
The new regulatory authority is called the National Council of Clinical Establishments (NCCE) and will be chaired by the director general of health services. It will also set minimum standards of facilities and services, classify establishments into categories and set up a national registry within two years, which will be updated regularly.
The legislation will also empower the government to direct hospitals and clinics to provide information, statistics or other information required to track disease outbreaks. “No such law currently exists, which becomes a handicap when hospitals withhold stats and make it difficult for the government to plan a public health response during an outbreak,” said a health ministry official.
The quality of healthcare delivery varies widely between states, largely because state laws that regulate hospitals and clinics are either inadequate or not enforced. Once the bill gets Parliament approval, it is mandated to come into effect in Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Sikkim and all union territories. Other states are expected to follow and set up state councils that will compile and send state data to the national registry each month.
“Since the 80s, the private sector has grown exponentially in an unregulated environment with inadequate incentives and little accountability. Inadequate and the inappropriate treatment, overuse of higher technologies, and malpractice and negligence are some of the issues that will be regulated at all hospitals and clinics,” said Mishra.
The law will cover all clinical establishment, including hospitals, maternity homes, nursing homes, dispensaries, clinics with beds that offer diagnosis, treatment or care for illness, injury or pregnancy any recognised system of medicine, including allopathy, yoga, naturopathy, ayurveda, homoeopathy, siddha and unani.
It will also include laboratories that offer pathological, bacteriological, genetic, radiological, chemical, biological and other diagnostic services.