Cabinet nod for bill to protect doctors in Jharkhand
Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren-led cabinet on Wednesday evening approved a bill for the protection of medical professionals and their property, fulfilling the longstanding demands of the state’s medical fraternity.
The Jharkhand Medical Protection related to individuals, healthcare institutions (violence and property damage prevention) Bill which will be discussed in the Assembly later stipulates a maximum of two years jail term along with a fine of Rs 50,000 for individuals and groups indulging in violence and damage of the property of healthcare professionals.
The bill also stipulates that such acts (violence and property damage) would be cognizable offence and would be investigated only by a deputy superintendent of police rank officer.
There is also a provision for compensation in case of damage to the property of health institutions.
The bill also mandates upon the healthcare institutions to provide complete medical details to the patients and their relatives admitted or seeking consultations in the OPD.
The institutions would have to provide on the notice board cost/packages for the treatment of various ailments. They would have to hand over the bodies of deceased patients to their relatives for last rites.
The hospitals/nursing homes would have to inform the district administration immediately of any complaint of medical negligence so that the district deputy commissioner can form a team for investigation into the complaint and submit a report in a fortnight.
The hospitals would also have to install CCTV cameras and proper security at sensitive spots on their premises, set up a proper monitoring room for monitoring clinical establishment services, and ensure proper care of pregnant and lactating women and their newborn.
The move comes against the backdrop of doctors in the state agitating for the protection of medical professionals after instances of assaults on them.
However, there were varied opinions on the bill.
“The punishment for offenders is too less. It specifies a maximum term of two years and a person can get a sentence of only six months too. The punishment should have been more harsh to deter those indulging in violence. It is merely an eyewash,” argued Indian Medical Association (IMA) Jharkhand former secretary Dr Mrityunjay Kumar Singh.
Significantly, doctors in Jharkhand called off their proposed strike this month after a meeting with the government. However, IMA state functionaries expressed satisfaction over the bill.
“We welcome the cabinet decision which will go a long way to protect the interest of the medical professionals in the state. We are satisfied with the provision of the bill, though we also agree that the jail terms should have been more. We hope that the government will soon pass the bill in the state Assembly,” said IMA Jharkhand president Dr A.K. Singh.