The Delhi government will direct hospitals and laboratories in the city to appoint individuals who would be held responsible for any negligence regarding usage, storage and disposal of radioactive substances.
Talking to Hindustan Times, Delhi Health Minister Kiran Walia said, “We are re-looking at the penalty part mentioned in Atomic Energy Regulatory Body (AERB) guidelines. Fixing individual accountability is the only way to stop negligence in this regard.”
“AERB talks of cancelling the license to operate the equipment in case of any laxity, but we feel punishment has to be stricter; strong disciplinary action, to say the least, against individuals responsible for any mishap.”
Over the past couple of weeks, the state health ministry had been deliberating upon ways to work around the idea. “The recent C-60 exposure incident has served as a wake up call for all of us, and we have been thinking of evolving a mechanism that would deter people from misusing the facility. We would be taking a very serious note of any violation,” said Walia.
The health ministry is in consultation with officials from the Directorate of Health Services (DHS) to form an expert team that will keep a check on hospitals, nursing homes and laboratories that make use of radioactive substances for diagnosis and treatment.
“Every month, we will inspect the premises and maintain a record. This way, we can check any irregularity,” said a DHS, official requesting anonymity.
AERB directives have already been resent to more than 300 city healthcare establishments through speed post by the ministry. “Once all of them confirm receiving the directives, we shall call a meeting, most probably by the end of this week, to announce the changes,” said Walia.