The Jharkhand Cabinet on Tuesday cleared the proposed medical protection Bill that would make an offence against a doctor, paramedic or damage done to a hospital punishable by three years in prison and/or a fine of Rs 50,000.
The Bill, to be introduced in the Assembly, puts certain responsibilities on doctors and hospitals. It makes their licences liable to rejection in case of violation of the code of ethics and other rules and regulations.
According to officials, the proposed Bill would apply to all hospitals, both private and government, nursing homes and maternity homes. It would also apply to doctors, nurses and paramedics. “Damaging of property or manhandling of staff would lead to imprisonment for three years. This is a non-bailable offence and the cases would be looked into by a DSP-level officer,” said an official.
Officials said the Bill also makes it mandatory for doctors to attend to a patient in emergency. Also, no hospital or clinic would be able to hold back the body of a patient on account of non-payment of bills.
The ethics code and other regulations, as prescribed by the Medical Council of India, would have to be followed by the doctors. Failure to do so would lead to cancellation of their licences. “Similarly, all hospitals will have to display facilities offered with rates on boards, besides informing patients in writing about the treatment being followed,” said an official.
A health department official said the Bill was an improvement over a previous Bill that was opposed in the cabinet. “We will have to wait for the final version as the bill would have to be tabled in the Assembly,” he said.