The doors have been thrown open, as it were, for the city’s many private hospitals and clinics.
Numbering almost 1,200, these private hospitals and clinics were under a threat to shut shop following a recent order by the Supreme Court.
However, they can now heave a sigh of relief.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation is planning to amend the Development Control Rules to allow private hospitals and clinics to use the common building entrance or staircase for access to their clinics and nursing homes.
The Supreme Court, while hearing a petition, had issued a directive on April 6, asking the BMC to shut down all such clinics and private nursing homes that violated the Development Control Rules.
The existing rules state that private clinics and nursing homes should construct separate entrances or lifts.
This is to ensure privacy for people who buy flats in residential societies, which house these clinics and private hospitals.
The court had granted the civic corporation six months to take action against erring parties. Instead of cracking the whip, the civic body has now decided to amend the Development Control Rules.
A proposal to that effect will now soon be put for clearance before the Civic Improvement committee on Wednesday.
The only catch is that erring hospitals will have to submit an undertaking to the civic body, stating that the premises would be nuisance-free.
The civic body’s largesse to private hospitals has been fuelled by lack of a well-developed public health network in the city.
“The BMC does not want to shut down all the private clinics as they helps the civic body to treat patients for diseases like malaria, dengue, which are on the rise during monsoon,” Municipal Commissioner Jairaj Pathak said.
According to international standards, a city should have one hospital bed for every 1,000 persons residing in the city. However in Mumbai which is teeming with a population of over 1.40 crore, there are only 12,000 beds, leading to a shortage of 2,000 beds.
Nearly 30-40 per cent patients taking treatment are from outside the city. BMC officials claim with such a shortage of hospital beds it is imperative that a way was found to forestall closure of the private hospitals.