Guwahati, April 3: Dispur has asked all government doctors to disclose within this month if they have ownership interests in any private nursing home or diagnostic centre, or face action.
The order, issued by secretary to health and family welfare department M. Hagjer Barman, said the government has come to know that some faculty members of medical colleges have ownership interests in private nursing homes directly or indirectly, through their immediate family members, which is adversely affecting the atmosphere of the government hospitals.
A copy of the order, issued on March 29, available with The Telegraph, said: “The government presumes that there is every possibility of indulgence in unscrupulous practices in treatment of patients by referring the cases to the interested private nursing home for medical services, diagnostic facilities and various forms of medical and surgical operations even though such facilities exist in medical colleges and hospitals of the state.”
Barman, in her order, said engagement of faculties in private nursing home has affected the daily work as well as the academic atmosphere in medical colleges of the state.
In order to prevent such practices, Dispur has decided to force doctors to seek voluntary retirement or resign when found to be engaged in private practice or in nursing homes.
According to the order, if any faculty member of the medical colleges of the state is found to be have ownership interest in a private nursing home, through immediate family members, they should not work in the medical college located in the same city or town.
In such cases, the erring doctors must seek voluntary retirement or resign or seek transfer to other medical colleges within 30 days from the date of issuance of the order.
If any doctor is found violating the conditions after proper inquiry by a competent authority, disciplinary action will be initiated against him according to the Assam Services Discipline and Appeal Rules, 1964.
Dispur’s order comes close on the heels of the Assam Human Rights Commission’s recent directive to the government to take action against doctors who are promoting private nursing homes for commercial gain, jeopardising the interest of patients.
“In passing this order, the AHRC is guided by the conviction that unless the mindset of a section of doctors is changed through deterrent measures, all the good plan and programme of the government in the healthcare section involving colossal amount of public money would go haywire, depriving the people of quality healthcare, which is a basic human right,” the rights panel order said.
Barman confirmed issuance of the order and said it was done purely keeping in mind the interest of patients in government hospitals.