Private hospitals postpone protest for implementation of Fire Safety Act

Issues raised by the association are under active consideration of the Government, says Health Secy Arti Ahuja.

Published: 01st November 2016 03:36 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st November 2016 03:36 AM   |  A+A-

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Image from the tragic fire at the SUM hospital. (File|Biswanath Swain)

By Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: All Odisha Private Medical Establishment Forum (AOPMEF) has postponed its proposed oneday strike for one month after discussion with the State Government on Monday.

Earlier, the forum had threatened that all private health facilities in the State would remain closed on Tuesday protesting strict imposition of Fire Safety Act. Principal Secretary of Health and Family Welfare Arti Ahuja held a discussion with forum members and requested them to call off the strike in the interest of patients.

‘’The issues raised by the association are under active consideration of the Government and action will be taken for early decision within the framework of law,’’ her letter addressed to the forum secretary stated.

Following the request from the Health Secretary, the forum members have postponed the strike till December 1. Forum’s secretary Dr Indramani Jena said employees of the private health facilities will, however, wear black badges as a mark of protest on Tuesday.

‘’We have demanded a special fire safety guideline for health institutions and timely registration and renewal of licence. It is impossible for the old establishments to follow the fire safety guideline which is actually meant for factories and boilers,’’ he said. The forum secretary informed that the State Government is going to form a high level committee to review the guideline and make fresh recommendations.

‘’If the Government fails to take any step in next one month, we would resort to strike on December 1,’’ he said. Of 1,777 private clinical establishments in State, 1,551 are awaiting renewal of their registration since long.

According to the forum, more than 1,500 new units have also applied for fresh registration. Dr Jena said during discussion, the Health Secretary informed that a new Act has been approved by the Assembly according to which a health unit’s registration will be deemed valid for six months if its renewal or registration is delayed by the authorities concerned. AOPMEF president Dr Ajoy Kumar Mishra, vice president Dr Jagannath Mohapatra and Director of National Health Mission (NHM) Shalini Pandit were present at the meeting.

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