BENGALURU: Karnataka Janarogya Chaluvali, a public health forum, has written to retired High Court judge and chairperson of the drafting committee of Karnataka Private Medical Establishment Act (KPMEA), Justice Vikramjit Sen, asking him not to include government hospitals in the new act.
Currently, the KPMEA requires private medical establishments to maintain certain building requirements, and it does not have powers to cancel licences.
“Representatives of private hospitals in the amendments committee have been suggesting that public health facilities also be included under the Act and the word ‘private’ be dropped from the Act. We believe that this would be a grave mistake as the public health system and the private health sector operate on two diametrically opposite logics,” said Akhila Vasan, convener, KJC, in the letter.
“The public health system has a larger role beyond curative care to include promotive healthcare, control of epidemics, surveillance and disaster management and relief. Presently, the public health system has an accountability mechanism (which definitely needs strengthening) while private health sector has no checks and balances. The private health sector today is neither accountable to the government nor the citizens,” she added.
Presently, the Karnataka Private Medical Establishment Act, 2007, and Karnataka Private Medical Establishment Rules, 2009, regulate the functioning of private hospitals in the state. But there are a lot of deficiencies in the Act. To rein in profit raking private hospitals, a 30-member committee was constituted in September last year and give its recommendations.
At present, except for allopathy, other systems of medicines do not come under the purview of this Act. No state-level regulatory authority/council has been established under this act. There is a need to incorporate scientific and technical aspects under this act.
There is no provision for data sharing between private and government medical establishments. No definite punitive clauses have been incorporated for violation of the rules. There is a need for development of standard treatment guidelines to impart quality treatment to patients and establish a grievance redressal committee at the hospital level.