Research Area : Health Legislation and Patients' Rights
How does one make the widespread and unethical private sector accountable? The deliberate nurturing of this sector has made it financially and politically very powerful. As a consequence even, simple attempts by some state governments to enact legislation for registration of private NHs/hospitals (without any provision for minimum standards) have evoked angry protests from the medical establishments. They have also ensured that registration laws are either not implemented or are entangled in bureaucratic red tape. During its campaign on medical malpractice in Mumbai, the MFC (BG) had discovered that the registration law of Maharashtra was not properly implemented. It filed a Public Interest Litigation for its implementation. Although a court appointed committee in its study discovered appalling physical and medical standards of the NHs/Hospitals in Mumbai, and it formulated and recommended minimum standards, the government has done nothing in the last one decade to change the law. On the other hand, with increasing criticism towards the commercialisation of the private health sector and the possibility of health insurance companies imposing their own standards on the NHs/hospitals, the private health sector has been brought under great pressure and is now looking for new ideas.
It was in this context, and in order to understand views of various stakeholders of the private NHs and hospital system in Mumbai, that this study was planned. Accordingly, 113 NHs/hospital owners, eight medical associations, two consumer organisations and 100 patients were studied.
The findings of the study indicate that the self-regulatory system would have to be sensitive to the views of various stakeholders and governmental monitoring. Since the stakeholders would determine its eventual success, such a self-regulatory system is likely to take a middle path.
Supported by: The World Health Organsiation Research Team: Sunil Nandraj, Anagha Khot and Sumita Menon]]