Regulation of Private Healthcare Sector: Need of the Hour
A lot of us crib about the ill-structured public sector institutions every now and then. We advocate for better monitoring and regulation. What about the private sector? Post 1991, due to Liberalization, Globalization and Privatization, private players entered several sectors which were till then largely government owned – one such sector has been the Healthcare Industry which includes not just private corporate hospitals, private nursing homes but also pharmaceutical industry, and even insurance companies.
Do we take private healthcare services for granted? Are we ourselves victims of corporatization and increasing consumerism? We need to ponder over this. An extremely enriching workshop on this particular concern was held from October 19th and 20th at Raipur, Chhattisgarh as part of region-wise series of similar workshops being held throughout the country by CSOs such as SATHI, JSA, Chaupal and PHRN. The motive of this workshop was to sensitise the grassroots organizations to stress on the need for regulation of private healthcare systems and raise awareness on related issue of ‘Patients’ Rights’.
Presentations by Dr. Abhay Shukla, Dr. Abhijit, Dr. Arun Gadre, Sulakshana Nandi and other insights on perspectives from those involved in non-profit charitable hospitals, Dr. Yogesh Jain, and Dr. Shaibal Jana provided a great learning experience on many of the concerns. While we do have the Clinical Establishment Act in place and such other state acts but most of them have serious loopholes which do not guarantee an effective regulation over private healthcare industry. Chhattisgarh’s Nursing Home Act being the newest in the series has attempted to plug most of the loopholes but to an extent it remains quite bureaucratic in nature. The bureaucratic folly’s are yet to be corrected.
A vicious circle has been created due to the vested interests of global pharmaceutical industry, private medical colleges, immunization related vaccine trials, pathology labs and insurance industry (through RSBY scheme). Lately, blood banks have also started playing in, thus jeopardizing the patients’ rights to a great extent .
We need not ‘unprivatize’ this sector but impose necessary regulation keep the social logic superior over any other profit and similar logic. Moreover there is a need to formulate different rules for charitable hospitals. We need to promote rational doctors and voice for formulating standard treatment guidelines in as many cases as possible. There’s dire need to educate people on this front- to protect them from exploitation and looting. Inclusion of all these issues in the agenda is required so as to have more participatory and socially accountable regulatory mechanism for the common good.