The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Doctors in court over chamber norms

Calcutta, Nov. 10: A doctors’ body has petitioned the high court against a set of amendments making it a must for medical practitioners to register with the health department and asking them to ensure proper facilities in private chambers.

The city branch of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has filed a writ petition before Calcutta High Court challenging the legality of the Clinical Establishment Amendment Rules and demanded an order restraining the government from giving effect to the change. The petition will come up for hearing in a few days.

The amendment made it mandatory for doctors to obtain registration certificates from the heath department, apart from their certificates from the state medical council.

The new rules also said a doctor’s examination room must be attached to a waiting room, fitted with separate toilets for male and female patients. The government made a waterproof, fireproof record room and qualified nurses compulsory in every chamber. The doctors, it said, would face cancellation of licence, fines or jail terms if they failed to follow the norms.

In their petition, IMA president Nirmalya Bannerjee and two other members said the government’s move was arbitrary as the doctors would have to bear a huge cost if they had to follow the new guidelines. “Ultimately, common people will suffer as the extra burden on the doctors will be realised from them,” said the petition.

The doctors contended that they should not be asked to register with the health department for private practice. “We are already registered with the medical council. What is the need for a second registration'” asked one of the petitioners.

The government had amended existing rules with the intention to bring accountability among private medical practitioners and curb “mushrooming” of nursing homes and poly-clinics.

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