Care-less hospitals may lose licence

If the State government has its way, negligent private hospitals will lose their registration, and errant doctors will face a jail term.

Medical Education Minister S A Ramdas on Tuesday told the Legislative Council that the government would bring in an amendment to the Karnataka Private Medical Establishment Act, which ‘lacked teeth’ to effectively regulate private hospitals in the State.

The matter came to the fore when Congress MLC Dayanand demanded that the government initiate action against Narayana Hrudyalaya Hospital, which had reportedly turned away a poor patient bitten by a snake on February 1.

The woman from Bommasandra in Bangalore was taken to the hospital by her son in the middle of the night. But as the hospital turned her away saying there was a shortage of beds, her son took her to another hospital. She died on the way.

Private hospitals, which are situated on lands granted by the government, have no concern for poor patients. Treatment begins only after advance money is deposited, he pointed out.

Stringent rules
Ramdas, who agreed with the MLC, said presently the Act was so flimsy that the government was finding it difficult to even impose penalties.

There are very few provisions under the Act where private hospitals could be charged and held responsible (for negligence). Many private hospitals have been blatantly violating both the Central and State laws. Even when there is an outbreak of communicable diseases, some private hospitals refuse to admit patients, he said.

He said penalty clauses would be included in the amended Act and stringent rules like cancellation of registration and imposition of a jail term formulated. Ramdas said the Director, Medical Education, was inquiring into the Narayana Hrudyalaya case.

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