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Doctors unite to thwart law

- People see hope in clinical establishment act

Doctors and private nursing home operators are mobilising support against implementation of the clinical establishment act (CEA) here.

A state government directive has announced implementation of the proposed act at all governmental and private hospitals, nursing homes, clinics and pathological units by November 2014.

Under the banner of Bhagalpur chapter of Indian Medical Association (IMA), doctors here have decided to intensify the movement against the directive. But residents want proper implementation of the act.

D.P. Singh, president of Bhagalpur chapter of IMA, said doctors from different parts of Bhagalpur who attended the IMA meet on Tuesday, have decided to oppose CEA. He said the doctors decided to adopt a wait-and-watch policy till Patna High Court’s judgment on a writ petition filed by Bihar chapter of IMA, challenging the authenticity of the act. “We would not register our nursing homes, clinics etc till the verdict,” Singh said.

According to him, an 11-member team consisting of doctors has been constituted and the team would minutely study the provisions in the CEA and intensify the awareness programme against it.

Within the next 15 days, the team would also draft suggestions to the state government for rectification of CEA. Singh and dozens of doctors slammed the government for introducing an act, which, they feel, is irrelevant to backward places like Bhagalpur.

The IMA objects to some points in the act, such as the district magistrate has been made the authority for clearing registration of nursing homes, which would increase bureaucratic control.

The act can be implemented only in big metropolises where patients can shell out big money for treatment, said Hem Shanker Sharma, senior physician at the local JLNMC and hospital and owner of a private nursing home. “After implementation of the act, medical facilities would cost a lot more,” he said.

Santosh, another senior doctor here, said the state government designed the act to promote corporate sector-sponsored hospitals and clinics.

But residents differ. The act proposes improvement in services, like introduction of modern medical facilities at hospitals, nursing homes, clinics etc. “What is wrong with it? Doctors who play with the lives of patients with unskilled medical staff are opposing the act,” said Manoj Kumar, a government schoolteacher here. His father died at a private nursing home after alleged negligence by staff last year.

Echoing him, Ajana Ghosh, a Munger-based scribe, narrated how she had to move from one nursing home to another with her old father in search of proper medical facilities.