Bill to regulate hospitals okayed

The legislation – Clinical Establishments (registration and regulation) Bill 2010 – was approved by the Union Cabinet here on Thursday. It will be re-introduced to the Lok Sabha for passing in the upcoming budget session.

The legislation would provide a framework for the registration and regulation of clinical establishments. Currently barring a few states and union territories, no state as well as the Central government have any law to check proliferation of private hospitals and nursing homes without adhering to any health standards.

It was introduced in the Lok Sabha in the dyeing months of the UPA-I which sent it to the Standing Committee on health for comments. “Most of the suggestions made by the House panel have been accommodated in the new legislation,” Union Minister Ambika Soni said here after the Cabinet meeting.

The bill would permit categorisation and classification of different clinical establishments depending on their location and the services they offer. Moreover, it would lead to the creation of a national registry of clinical establishments and a national council of standards to fix the norms.

In its original form, the law proposed immediate provisional annual registration for all establishments which can be obtained after furnishing the required documents. There will be registering authority at the district level as well.

Once the standards are prescribed by the Central government, all clinical establishments would get a three-year period to comply with the standards.
While there is no provision of imprisonment of the owner, if an establishment fails to comply with the standards have to pay a hefty fine.

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