April 13, 2009

Deficient regulation helps medical malpractices thrive

When it comes to matters of life and death, the private medical industry is shockingly devoid of any regulation. Private nursing homes - about 150 of them exist in the Chandigarh Tricity - are not accountable to any authority as they are not registered. So is the case with privately-run clinics and hospitals.

In case a patient has been fleeced or receives deficient services, there is nothing much he could do, except for moving the consumer court. Facing this medical dead end, a Canadian citizen recently approached the UT director, health services, to complain against a Sector-27 dentist, who, he alleged, had not only ripped him off, but also provided wrong treatment. “The patient had undergone a dental procedure in the city. However, his problem recurred as soon as he reached Delhi, where he consulted a dentist again. He was told that the Chandigarh doctor had fleeced him as he had paid Rs 45,000 for a treatment that was not even proper,” said director, health services, MS Bains.

Acting on the grievance, the health department tried to locate the doctor, who had already shut down his clinic. “This is the limitation of non-registration of nursing homes. Though doctors are registered to start a practice, their clinic can be run by anyone who has not been found guilty according to medical regulations,” added Bains.

This unhealthy trend is reflected in Mohali and Panchkula. “There are around 30 private nursing homes in Chandigarh,” said president of nursing homes association, UT, RS Bedi. According to officials, Mohali and Panchkula have approximately 60 of these medical centres each.

Though the health department has drafted and sent a proposal for registration to Union government, it can proceed only when the same is okayed. “Our department was working on empanelling private clinics and nursing homes so that treatment could be provided at the doorstep, and at government rates. When the Centre asked for a list of registered clinics, we informed the government that due to lack of any regulatory authority, we did not have the database,” Bains added.

Why is registration important?

It will ensure that private medical centres also follow the norms decided by Medical Council of India. For instance, a clinic meant for 10 admissions will be prohibited against having more indoor patients. Regulation becomes simpler with director health services of the area authorized to take necessary action against the clinic that breaches MCI norms. Importantly, rates can be kept under a check.

Link: Original Article

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