THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala Clinical Establishment Bill, mooted about four years ago to rein in private hospitals and medical laboratories, has not been placed in the ongoing 15th Assembly session.
For the past past four years the UDF government has been stating, just ahead of the Assembly session, that it would be introduced in the House. However, it is still with the Business Advisory Committee.
Even during the last Assembly session, Health Minister V S Sivakumar stated that it would be introduced. But after the session, he said it would be introduced in the next session. The government has only six more months to go and sources said that the Bill is unlikely to be placed.
The Bill was drafted about 10 years ago. It is alleged the delay was deliberate due to pressure from various quarters, especially private hospital and laboratory managements.
The Centre enacted the Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act, 2010 registration and regulation of clinical establishments in the country with a view to prescribing the minimum standards of facilities and services provided by them. The Act has come into effect in four states since 2012 -- Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh,Mizoram and Sikkim and all Union Territories but not in National Capital Territory of Delhi.
The Bill has much significance as it has been reported that majority of the private labs were functioning without proper accreditation, certification or qualified staff. In a recent report of the Directorate of Economics and Statistics, it was pointed out that 93 per cent of the labs do not have accreditation or certification from any agency like National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL).
The Bill was drafted to bring in a proper mechanism for strict regularisation. Once it is enacted, the government can rope in all the labs functioning without proper licenses.
Neither Sivakumar nor the health secretary, were available for comments. Earlier,. Sivakumar had pointed out that there were no impediments in placing the Bill in the Assembly.