Bill shield for Bihar doctors

Patna, July 16: The Bihar cabinet today gave a green light to the Medical Service Institution and Personal Protection bill and Clinical Establishment (registration and regulation) Act.

The former would provide legal protection to doctors whereas the latter, the Clinical Establishment Act, would regulate private practitioners and nursing homes across the state.

The cabinet, which decided to repeal the earlier Clinical Establishment Act passed in 2007, decided to adopt the central legislation of Clinical Establishment Act, 2010, in the state, sources confirmed though it is not clear whether the Clinical Establishment Act would be implemented in toto in Bihar or have amendments.

Sources said all old and new nursing homes would be given permission to run their institutions for one year during which they would have to fulfil all requisite criteria in the act.

The proposed medical protection bill incorporates the provision of making an attack on doctors a cognisable offence and those indulging in vandalism against doctors and nursing homes would have to pay double the amount of damage caused during the protest, sources said.

Welcoming the cabinet decision, Bihar Health Services Association (BHSA) general secretary Dr Ajay Kumar told The Telegraph: “The Medical Protection Act was long awaited and the government has finally accepted that doctors in Bihar need a special act to protect them. The government has assured us that the act would be modelled on the Andhra Pradesh Act.”

Citing newspaper reports about pre-conditions imposed in the proposed medical protection bill, Kumar said: “We hope there will not be any kind of pre-conditions in the bill to be presented in the Assembly for approval. Putting conditions will create obstacles in smooth discharge of their duty.”

According to reports, there might be pre-conditions like doctors would have to treat patients in a better way besides behaving in a decent manner. Doctors would have to give right reasons for referring patients to other medical institutions, Kumar said.

“All these clauses or pre-conditions in the protection bill, if implemented, is not going to serve the purpose, rather it would be detrimental to the profession,” he said. He added: “These clauses give ample power to patients and investigating officers which could go against the doctors.”

So far as the Clinical Establishment Act was concerned, Kumar said the Indian Medical Association has already opposed the act and even BHSA has reservations on some of the provisions of the central legislation act, which is to be adopted in the state.

The association has serious objections on some points such as the district magistrate has been made the authority for clearing the registration of nursing homes which would increase bureaucratic control, Kumar said and added that the fine of Rs 5 lakh is exorbitant particularly for a newcomer in the profession.

Kumar said there is a clause which says that if an emergency patient comes to any doctor running a private clinic or nursing home, the doctor available at the clinic or nursing home would have to stabilise the condition of the patient before referring him/her to any other hospital or medical institution.

“There should be a regulatory body to monitor the nursing homes but it should be friendly to both patients and doctors. But except a few, no hospital or nursing home is in a position to implement such a clause as they lack medical and paramedical employees and infrastructure to bear the cost incurred on the treatment,” Kumar said.

“There are about 7,000 to 8,000 private clinic and nursing homes being run in the state by qualified doctors or corporates,” Kumar said before adding that another 10,000 illegal and unauthorised clinics and nursing homes are being run in the state by non-professionals.

Nod given to Medical Service Institution and Personal Protection bill and Clinical Establishment (registration and regulation) Act

The former would provide legal protection to doctors whereas the latter, the Clinical Establishment Act would regulate private practitioners and nursing homes across the state

All old and new nursing homes would be given permission to run their institutions for one year during which they would have to fulfil all requisite criteria in the act

There might be pre-conditions like doctors would have to treat patients in a better way besides behaving in a decent manner. Doctors would also have to give right reasons for referring patients to other medical institutions

Indian Medical Association has already opposed the act and even BHSA has reservations on some of the provisions of the central legislation act, which is to be adopted in the state

The association has serious objections such as the district magistrate has been made the authority for clearing the registration of nursing homes which would increase bureaucratic control

There is a clause which says that if an emergency patient comes to any doctor running a private clinic or nursing home, he would have to stabilise the condition of the patient before referring him/her to any other hospital or medical institution.

Source: The Telegraph

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