The Qualified Private Medical Practitioners’ Association (QPMPA), a national organization of private allopathic medical practitioners and managers of private hospitals in India, has decided to challenge the implementation of the newly enacted Clinical Establishment Bill 2010 in the Court.
A combined meeting of the leaders of the national committee and the state committee of the association took the decision in this regard. The meeting was held in Thiruvananthapuram the other day as part of the 37th state conference of QPMPA.
While delivering a special lecture on the Clinical Establishment Bill, advocate Dr. M.C. Gupta, former dean of the National Institute of Health & Family Welfare, New Delhi, said the bill tries to register and regulate the medical profession and the clinical establishments of the country. According to him, the bill was passed in the Loksabha without any discussion. He wanted the medical professionals in the country to raise their voices against the implementation of this draconian law.
“The medical profession is highly scientific and technical. Only medical experts should regulate it. Currently, the profession is controlled by the Medical Council of India. If the doctors do not follow the norms and regulations of the MCI, they can be punished by the medical council. Similarly, since the medical profession is a service paid for fee, the consumer court can penalize both the doctor and the establishment for any kind of deficiency or default on the part of the doctors. Thirdly, for any kind of negligence in treatment, the doctors can be punished under the Indian Penal Code. Besides, there is Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act (PNDT Act) to punish a doctor or establishment if the sex of an unborn baby is determined in a hospital. In short, since there are so many laws to regulate the medical profession and the establishments, there is no need of an additional regulatory body,” said Dr Gupta.
While addressing the delegates, he said the government should review the provisions mentioned in the act as some of them are unconstitutional and illegal. According to the clinical establishment act, a clinical establishment means a hospital, maternity home, nursing home, dispensary, clinic, sanatorium or an institution by whatever name called that offers services, facilities requiring diagnosis, treatment or care for illness, injury, deformity, abnormality or pregnancy in any recognized system of medicine established and administered or maintained by any person or body of persons, whether incorporated or not.”
Dr Gupta argues that if a single doctor practices in a rented room or runs a clinic of his own for want of employment, his place of practice should not be considered as an establishment. “We want that the premises of solo doctors should not come under the definition of establishment.”
Later, while speaking to Pharmabiz, Dr. M.C. Gupta said under this act all clinical establishments have to register with the registering authorities and get a certificate or license. The regulation specifies compliance of minimum standards which include area of the establishment, staffs of the institution, fees charged for medical and diagnostic services etc.
According to section 2 (O) and 12 (2) of the act, it becomes the responsibility of a doctor to treat and stabilize the condition of a patient brought to him, in emergency conditions, and transport him to a better hospital for further treatment, if necessary. The doctor-cum-advocate, MC Gupta asks if the condition of the patient is stabilized, why he should be transported to another hospital. Further, the act does not specify anything about the fees of the medical services to be provided and the transport charges. He said the West Bengal Clinical Establishment Act, 1950, states that the patient brought in emergency has to make the payment for treatment given. Similarly, the Assam Public Health Act, 2010, says that emergency treatment will be free only for the first 24 hours.
Dr Gupta gave the example of education system. Since education is a fundamental right, it becomes the duty of the government to provide the facilities for it. Similarly, every citizen has the right to health. But, through this Act, the government, instead of discharging its own constitutional responsibility, is trying to put the responsibility on the shoulders of the private doctors.
To a query he said so far no state in the country has implemented the Central Act, but that day is not far off. States like Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Mizoram have passed the act in their respective legislative assemblies. Whereas Jammu & Kashmir, Orissa and West Bengal have their own Clinical Establishment Acts, but likely to adopt the central act soon.
Source: Pharmabiz News – May 17, 2011, 0800 IST