The National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers (NABH) has issued a cautionary notice for accredited allopathic hospitals on the issue of employing AYUSH doctors.
Dr Atul Kochhar, CEO, NABH, in the notice issued on December 17, said some of the allopathic hospitals were employing AYUSH doctors for clinical duties in the ICU instead of MBBS, RMOs and emergency doctors. “This is a blatant violation of healthcare accreditation and very much against patient care norms and will compromise quality of modern medicine clinical care outcome,” Kochhar said.
The NABH is a constituent board of Quality Council of India set up in 2005 for creating an ecosystem of quality in healthcare in India. NABH standards focus on patient safety and quality of delivery of services by the hospitals.
NABH has taken serious note of this matter and reiterated that deploying AYUSH doctors for writing independent orders and clinical work without supervision of allopathic doctors is not permitted. “In case the allopathic hospitals are employing AYUSH doctors to work as clinical assistants, as per the applicable state laws, they should not be involved in direct patient care and strictly follow job responsibilities,” Kochhar said.
AYUSH doctors working in the NABH applicant allopathy hospitals will not be considered Resident Medical Officers during the process of assessment and for the grant of accreditation, the notice has warned.
In another notice issued on December 15, the Maharashtra Medical Council also reiterated that a person obtaining qualification in any other system of medicine will not be allowed to practice modern medicine in any form. Only registered medical practitioners with the MMC can prescribe modern (allopathic) medicines, the notice issued by Sanjay Deshmukh, registrar, MMC said. The notice has also cautioned doctors visiting hospitals run by practitioners not registered under the MMC Act and said it would be considered a breach of ethics.
When contacted, Dr Sanjay Patil, chairman of the Hospital Board of India, Pune, which includes 210 small and medium hospitals, said there will be a need for major reforms as both NABH and MMC have issued these notices revisiting medical ethics and guidelines.
At the Association of Hospitals in Pune, which has mainly large hospitals as members, authorities said that most tertiary care hospitals have NABH accreditation like Ruby Hall, Jehangir, Noble and KEM hospitals, among others. “There are few AYUSH practitioners employed, for instance, at Noble hospital and they are not given clinical duties but assist the consultants with documentation and related work,” said Dr H K Sale, executive director of Noble Hospital and a member of the Association of Hospitals in Pune.
Dr Sanjay Pathare, medical director at Ruby Hall Clinic, which has the largest number of 170 ICU beds, said they did not have AYUSH practitioners as clinical assistants in critical care. “We had few Ayush practitioners who assisted the doctors in writing clinical notes and were engaged in documentation work,” Pathare said.