The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Doctors force rules rollback

Calcutta, Jan. 1: Pressured by doctors, the state government today partially rolled back rules to regulate medical practitioners.

A contentious proposal that required doctors to register themselves with the state health department and renew the registration every year has been diluted. Under the new plan, the registration should be renewed every three years.

However, the principal rule — framed under the Clinical Establishment Act, 2001 — that doctors should pay a fee and register themselves with the health department has been retained. At present, doctors can start practice after getting a trade licence from the civic body.

The Indian Medical Association’s Bengal chapter, which had strong reservations about the rule for individual registration, said it would seek the intervention of the chief minister and the health minister to get the proposal modified.

Last month, the IMA had held a series of meetings with the government, including one with chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee.

A draft of the amended rules was drawn up after a meeting of senior health officials and state IMA representatives.

Director of medical education C.R. Maity today said that following the meetings, it has been proposed to reduce the size of doctors’ chambers from 160 sq ft to 113 sq ft. The amended specification would be applicable to physicians who have just graduated and want to practise in private.

In a climbdown, the government said the chamber rules would not be strictly enforced on doctors who are already practising at their own chambers.

The rules on air-conditioners in chambers and separate toilets for male and female patients have been relaxed. The norms now specify a “well-ventilated” chamber with adequate air circulation, comfortable waiting arrangements and a “decent” toilet.

The government has also listed rules for government doctors who have private practice. Such doctors can practise outside duty hours, but must do so in a radius of 8 km from the government hospital so that they are available in an emergency.

The registration rate for clinics and nursing homes in the Calcutta metropolitan area and parts of Howrah, Hooghly, North and South 24-Parganas will remain at Rs 2,500-3,000 a year.

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