Stop criminal action against illegal hospitals: Corporators
PUNE: A group of corporators have demanded that the Pune Municipal Corporation should withdraw criminal offences registered against unauthorised hospitals in the city and instead charge their operators a heavy penalty.
In a proposal submitted to the civic body, the corporators have said that the most of these nursing homes and clinics are in slum localities and provide medical treatment to the needy at affordable rates. The doctors at these facilities have often helped the civic body by treating needy patients, the elected members said.
The civic administration started a drive against illegal nursing homes in 2013. Over 100 clinics have faced action in this campaign. As per the provisions of the Bombay Nursing Home Registration Act, 1949, it is mandatory for a doctor running and managing a hospital or a nursing home to register it with the civic body. But many doctors fail to do so.
The nursing homes were told to comply with the norms within a month or face legal action. The civic administration then filed cases against those doctors who failed to get their clinical set-up regularised.
PMC officials said the crackdown had created a flutter in the medical fraternity, as most nursing homes that operate from residential premises on the city’s outskirts do not posses PMC licences.
The hospital owners had also requested the administration to relax some norms. They had sought relaxation in technical and structural regulations laid down for nursing homes, such as the length of the staircase and height of the building.
According to elected members, the administration has done very little to resolve these issues. “These nursing homes are the need of the hour. They have proved useful at times like the swine flu outbreak,” said Bapu Karne, one of the corporators who have submitted the proposal.
Karne told TOI said that the state government, too, has made provisions under which such facilities can be allowed to function after they pay a heavy fine. The PMC should make use of these provisions and withdraw the criminal cases, he said.
“The maximum fine amount for clinics is Rs 10,000. The administration should charge double this amount as a one-time settlement fee and then take back the criminal cases,” the proposal said. It has been sent to the standing committee, which will discuss the proposal in its meeting on Tuesday.
“The civic administration will take further action in the matter once the standing committee takes a call on it,” said a PMC official, requesting anonymity.