West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday told doctors of private hospitals not to panic because of the introduction of the Health Bill, which she said was aimed to bring transparency in the system. “Some are trying to misguide the doctors. But I would like to assure them that there is nothing to worry about. If they are working fine then there is nothing to worry about,” Banerjee told reporters at the state secretariat.
The Chief Minister, who also holds the Health portfolio, said the state medical council will be looking into cases of medical negligence, if any, on part of a doctor. “There are only a few against whom there are complaints… those who give priority to business but there are only a few. “Our fight is against the establishment… not all but a few who are misusing it and against whom we have got complaints,” Banerjee stressed.
She hoped the West Bengal Clinical Establishments (Registration, Regulation and Transparency) Bill 2017 will show a new path for the entire nation and all states should take it up. On private hospitals and nursing homes mulling options of closing down their business in the state after the new Bill was brought in by the government, Banerjee said, “There are complaints against only against seven or eight not all then why will they shut down business. They can rectify themselves. What will happen to the poor here.”
She added that this kind of “blackmailing” will not be allowed in Bengal as she pointed out options of corporate social responsibility (CSR). “It is not a place of blackmail. It is a place of good will and good governance,” Banerjee stated. On the Indian Medical Association (IMA) contemplating moving court against the Bill, she said, “It is their freedom of choice. Anybody can go to the court but do not you think that is for public cause.” “I do not know may be the IMA may belong to somebody… I will request them to listen to the commoners,” she said, adding even doctors were supporting the Bill.
Banerjee announced that 11-member West Bengal Health Regulatory Commission will monitor billing and performance of private hospitals and nursing homes in the state and “the panel will start functioning immediately and their prime objective will be to maintain transparency”. Headed by Calcutta High Court judge Ashim Kumar Roy, who is scheduled to retire in likely another five month’s time, as the chairman of the panel, it will have consumer and self help department principal secretary Anil Verma as the vice chairman along with Dr Sukumar Mukherjee, Dr Gopal Krishna Dhali, Dr Makhonlal Saha besides, Additional DGP (law and law) Anuj Sharma and Kolkata Police DC South Praveen Tripathi on the panel.