New Act to usher licence raj: Medicos group

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CHANDIGARH: Medicos Legal Action Group (MLAG) has pointed out that imposing standards provided under Clinical Establishment Act (CEA) on small and medium healthcare establishments (SMHCEs) will raise the cost of treatment in these hospitals or they will no longer remain viable and shut down.

The group held a meeting on Sunday to decide on future course of action regarding the soon-to-be implemented Clinical Establishment Act (CEA). The health minister had on its website asked for feedback from stakeholders regarding minimum standards under CEA to be sent by October 9.

Dr Neeraj Nagpal, convener, MLAG, said suggestions and objections of the group have been communicated to appropriate authorities. He said the idea of 26 licences for 10-bed nursing homes was absurd and being brought with ulterior motive of helping corporate hospitals.

Dr Sandeep Dhavan, trustee of the group, said though 75% of the healthcare in the country was in the hands of private small and medium healthcare establishments (SMHCE), the CEA was drafted with the sole goal of closing these establishments. The government does not have the resources to replace these SMHCEs. Dr Dhavan added that it was unfortunate that a government which boasts of creating a facilitative business environment does not consider 26-plus licences for a small nursing home as a harbinger of licence raj.

Members of MLAG felt that despite repeated representations, there was no change in attitude of the government in its intention to implement CEA. He said MLAG has decided to seek legal intervention in the matter and the discrimination against SMHCE would be the ground for such legal recourse once the Act was fully operational.

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