Govt to form separate authority to monitor health facilitiesThe government has decided to establish a separate authority to govern and regulate private and public health facilities in the country.
The government has decided to establish a separate authority to govern and regulate private and public health facilities in the country.
Named as ‘Quality Assurance and Accreditation Authority’, its primary task will be to monitor, evaluate and certify the entire health services offered by health institutes.
It will also ask the concerned authorities to book the guilty after investigation into any negligence on part of healthcare provider.
The council will also put ceiling on charges for services offered by various health facilities.
“The health ministry has for long focused on preventive healthcare. In the same time, the country has witnessed an unprecedented growth of curative healthcare services,” said Health Minister Gagan Kumar Thapa.
“Also, the health ministry provides licence for operation and it is also the one to monitor quality which has been completely ineffective. Now, we feel there should be a separate authority to deal with the private and public health facilities.”
The Cabinet had on Tuesday approved a concept note for the formation of the authority. The ministry has already formed a committee of experts to draft a policy and act for the authority.
According to the ministry, there were 16 private hospitals until 1990 and the number of private health facilities shot up to 190 in 2006 and reached 301 by 2014. At present, there are around 325 private hospitals, the ministry said.
Similarly, there are 110 government hospitals and more than 240 primary health care centres. Besides, a number of clinics have been run in various parts of the country.
The authority was first envisioned by the ministry in its Nepal Health Sector Strategy 2015-2020, aimed at ensuring “high standards of health services across the sector and promoting safe and good medical practices”. The body “will regulate quality standards and protocols, investigate non-compliance of service providers.”
Until now, the Nepal Medical Council used to regulate the health services and look into complaints of any wrongdoings by doctors. However, the NMC is solely focused on providing licence to medical doctors and regulating medical schools. Also, the Health Ministry has a monitoring unit that is almost dysfunctional.
Experts, however, stressed on making the authority effective. “This should not be another routine institution,” said Dr Padam Bahadur Chand, former chief specialist at the Health Ministry.
“It has to ensure quality in health services and should be armed with enough resources and competent manpower to function effectively.”