The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Doctors under practice scanner

All private nursing homes, diagnostic centres and clinical laboratories will henceforth have to declare that no doctor from the non-practising pool of the West Bengal Health Services is attached to them.

The decision, in line with the Bengal government’s campaign against state employees earning from private jobs, was taken to stop health service doctors, drawing a non-practising allowance, from conducting private practice.

Keeping teachers’ ire over the ban on private tuition in mind, the health department has decided to take a different strategy. Unlike what the teachers were asked to do last winter, the new policy does not require the doctors to give a written declaration. Instead, the onus falls on the private health institutions.

The present rules prevent Medical Education Service doctors of teaching hospitals as well as those holding any administrative post to engage in private practice. They are called non-practising doctors and are entitled to a special allowance. Doctors working in any other district or state general hospital, however, can carry on practice under certain conditions and pay scales. They are called practising doctors.

The health department has already sent the circular to all private medical institutions asking them to submit the declaration within a month. Besides this, the nursing homes will also have to submit details of its medical staff and the surgery cases along with the name of the surgeons.

If any doctor (practising) is attached to the organisation, his details along with his chamber timings and fees will have to be furnished. The declaration, along with the statement, will have to be submitted to the health department once every year.

“It is mandatory for all private health organisations to give the declaration, failing which their licences may be cancelled. It is a pre-condition for any new nursing home or diagnostic centre applying for a licence to furnish the declaration,’’ said director of medical education C.R. Maity. Drastic action will be taken if any statement or declaration is found to be false, he added.

Health department officials feel that after submitting the declaration, private nursing homes will be hesitant to engage any government doctor to treat or operate a patient there, fearing cancellation of licence.

The decision follows allegations that several senior doctors from the teaching hospitals are attached to reputed private nursing homes, not only in the city but in district towns as well.

“These doctors do not attend the out-patients departments, making it difficult for us to catch them. We do not have adequate infrastructure to check whether any non-practising doctor is working for a private nursing home. This is why the new guidelines have been framed,’’ said a senior health department official.

“The move will ensure that no government doctor (non-practising) is engaged in private practice. The doctors of teaching hospitals will be engaged only in teaching students and treating patients in the hospitals and not in other places,’’ said health minister Surjya Kanta Mishra.

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