Soon, patients approaching hospitals for medical emergencies will have to be attended to, because medical establishments can be questioned and even be asked to pay a hefty penalty.
Hospitals, scanning centers and family doctor clinics will need to be registered with the state councils, which will create registries and monitor establishments.
These are few of the riders that will come with the Clinical Establishments Bill, 2010 — approved by the Centre in May 2010 — to be tabled in the state monsoon session in July 2011 for implementation.
“The Act brings uniformity in the healthcare system and makes medical professionals accountable,” said health minister Suresh Shetty.
“Today, we are unable to count the number of hospitals and clinics in the state. There is also no direct control over hoax institutions and quacks,” Shetty added.
Sources said the biggest challenge in medical care is the lack of authenticity of medicos and no government control over the infrastructure and healthcare provided by private doctors and those practicing alternate medicine.
This bill will cover every field of medicine – including allopathy, ayurveda and homeopathy. For those who do not comply, the registering authority can impose a heavy fine of up to Rs5 lakh. If it fails to pay, the fine will be recovered as arrears of land revenue, the bill says.
Hospitals will need to have adequate doctors and nurses to maintain their bed strength, maintain infrastructure and create registries for diseases and infections.
However, medical organisations are not in favour of clearing the bill in its entirety.
Dr Jayesh Lele, Maharashtra state secretary, Indian Medical Association (IMA) said some requirements of the Bill, such as attending to every medical emergency, might not be sensible because a smaller establishment might not be adequately equipped. He added that compulsory inoculations for all staff and keeping oxygen cylinders would only add to the patients’ cost.
“However, we do support the clauses that every establishment needs to be accredited and registered. Therefore, while implementing the Act in Maharashtra, it needs to be tweaked accordingly,” said Lele.