50 bedded hospitals owned by doctors out from Clinical Establishment Act purview in Punjab
Punjab: Following the conflict between the state government of Punjab and the Indian Medical Association, Punjab (IMA) on the Clinical Establishment Act which was implemented from July 1, the health minister has announced that the health facilities owned individually by Doctors should be kept out of the purview of the CEA.
The health minister has also confirmed that the authorities will be discussing the particular amendment in the act in the next assembly session.
The Medical Dialogues team had earlier reported that the Punjab State Government notified the Punjab Clinical Establishment Act ordinance in May and it brought all clinical establishments having a capacity of more than 50 beds under the provisions of the ordinance. The ordinance provided a mechanism for registration and regulation of clinical establishments in a professional manner, and it ensured that the minimum standard of facilities and services, as well as transparency in the functioning, is achieved by the institution so that they can deliver proper services to the common man.
However, the CE Act was severely criticized by the medical fraternity in Punjab. 10,000 doctors of IMA observed bandh against the Clinical Establishment Act and they demanded rollback of the Punjab Clinical Establishment (Registration and Regulation) Ordinance, 2020 as they found the ordinance to be "anti-doctor" and "anti-public".
They also claimed that the government was trying to control the private healthcare sector with this. According to the act, the Punjab State Council will be formed to form rules and regulations for health facilities.
The notification, under subsection (3) of section 1 of the Punjab Clinical Establishments (Registration & Regulation) Ordinance, 2020, brings all clinical establishments having capacity of more than 50 beds under the provisions of the ordinance. The ordinance would provide a mechanism for registration and regulation of clinical establishments in a professional manner, to ensure compliance of minimum standards of facilities and services, as well as transparency in the functioning of these establishments for fair and proper delivery of health services to the common man.
Even after approaching the authorities to amend the act, their demands had not been fulfilled and the Act was implemented on the 1st of July. IMA's Punjab chapter president Dr. Navjot Dahiya told HT that "We had been busy convincing the government that the hospitals owned by the doctors are not purely into profiteering business and there is a huge difference in the treatment charges in these hospitals as compared to facilities being run by business management".
Finally, addressing the demands of doctors and following the requests of IMA, the health ministry decided to bring an amendment in the act. Authorities decided to keep the health facilities with more than 50 beds and listed under an individual doctor's names out of the purview of the CEA Act, however, any permanent decision about the amendment has not yet been taken by the government.
Punjab health and family welfare minister Balbir Singh Sidhu informed the HT that "The government has decided to keep hospitals having more than 50 beds owned by doctors out of the purview of the Act. A formal amendment in the Act will be done in the next assembly session".