Constitute authority to enforce medical establishments Act, say voluntary groups

Constitute authority to enforce medical establishments Act, say voluntary groups

Private hospital managements have asked the state government to bring even government hospitals under the ambit of the new medical establishments act. The Karnataka Private Medical Establishments (KPME) Act now oversees the functioning of only private hospitals.

However, in a discussion organised by voluntary organisations on Friday, apprehensions were expressed about the private hospitals’ demand. “It is wrong to weigh government set-ups by the same parameters as that of the private hospitals. It could lead to a gradual shutdown of the public healthcare set-up,” said Akhila Vasan from the Karnataka Janaaroyga Chaluvali.

The volunteers sought making the patient the prime focus of the Act and not just private hospitals. “The proposed patient rights must be guaranteed and protected under the Act,” said Vinay Sreenivasa, member, Alternative Law Forum.

The Karnataka Janaaroyga Chaluvali recommended that there be a constitution of a separate competent authority at the state and district levels to enforce the Act. This body is empowered to form local inspection committees to conduct inspections, act on complaints etc.

“The enforcement of the KPME Act has been very poor and less than 50% of establishments are registered so far across the state. This regulatory body can provide oversight on adherence to all other laws that apply to establishments. This we believe will reduce fragmentation of the enforcement mechanism at the district and state levels,” said Vasan.

They have also sought that the new act lay down guidelines to protect patient rights and create a redressal mechanism for violations, grievances and complaints. They sought creation of health tribunals at district and state levels as well and putting in place a ban on advertisements pertaining facilities available in hospitals.
 

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