Shoddy act: Legislation to regulate nursing homes gathers dust

Even as the state Health Department has enforced a crackdown on quacks following the outbreak of the mutated Hepatitis B blight in Sabarkantha and elsewhere...

Vadodara/rajkot | Published:March 3, 2009 1:10 am

Only two out of seven civic bodies have implemented the Nursing Home Registration Act

Even as the state Health Department has enforced a crackdown on quacks following the outbreak of the mutated Hepatitis B blight in Sabarkantha and elsewhere,the government has still not implemented the Bombay Nursing Home Registration Act (BNHRA). Incidentally,the state government website mentions it among the Acts in force in Gujarat.

Of the seven municipal corporations in the state,only two have been able to implement the BNHRA bylaws. The Ahmedabad and Rajkot municipal corporations have adopted the by-laws,while efforts by Surat to adopt the Act,has been shelved by the state government. The other municipal corporations of Vadodara,Bhavnagar,Jamnagar and Junagadh are yet to initiate any procedures in this regard.

According to the health officials,the Act empowers them to take effective means to check irregularities by private practitioners. In fact,the Act enables municipal corporations to grant,suspend or cancel registration of any nursing home that does not measure up to the stipulations; to enforce standards prescribed for nursing home; and to investigate breach of the many provisions of the Act,among others.

“In 2007,the RMC forwarded a proposal to the state government,which had issued a circulation to implement these by-laws to all local bodies. The proposal was accepted by the state government,” said Dr M N Bhanderi,RMC health officer.

Together with the Indian Medical Association (Rajkot),the RMC launched a registration drive,and 915 members were registered,which is,however,below 50 per cent of the total of over 2,000 practising doctors in Rajkot. “Now we are focussing on the remaining unregistered doctors and we have issued notices to them in this regard,” said Municipal Commissioner Dr Dinesh Brahambhatt.

In Surat,efforts by the health officials turned into a futile exercise as the government failed to give the final nod.

“We had worked a lot to implement the Act since Surat remains a fertile ground for quacks due to the high number of migrants. Despite all our efforts the matter is still pending with the state government. The raids which we are carrying out,are nothing but eyewash,because the quacks don’t mind spending Rs 1,500 to secure bail,” said a health department official on condition of anonymity.

Deputy Municipal Commissioner (Vadodara) A O Sharma said that without a stringent law in place,the raids serve no purpose. “We have not initiated any such procedure to implement the Act. We have to continue taking action under the old rules,and the legal aspect is being taken care of by the police,” he said.

State Health Minister Jay Narayan Vyas told Newsline that the government is aware of the issue,“We are working on this and we want to implement the Act at the earliest. The formalities are under way,” he said.

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