Draft law to regulate hospitals gathers dustA guideline proposing regulation of medical institutes and accreditation standards gathers dust at the Ministry of Health (MoH) even as gross negligence in a major private hospital in Kathmandu has come to the fore.
A guideline proposing regulation of medical institutes and accreditation standards gathers dust at the Ministry of Health (MoH) even as gross negligence in a major private hospital in Kathmandu has come to the fore.
The MoH draft law proposes to establish ‘Quality Assurance and Accreditation Authority’. The draft mandates its primary task as monitoring, evaluating and certifying health services offered by health institutes. It instructs concerned authorities to book the guilty after investigations if healthcare workers are found negligent in carrying out their duties.
The document was drafted over a year ago, but nothing has moved forward.
“We drafted the document aiming to improve the quality of the institutions and the services they deliver. The draft is currently under review at law ministry,” said Dr Padam Bahadur Chand, former chief of Policy Planning and International Co-operation Division of MoH.
Dr Chand said the government should immediately endorse and implement the law.
The then Health Minister Gagan Thapa in 2016 had formed a high-level committee to work on developing a regulatory body that would scrutinize the health facility and implement the compliance of the standards.
The MoH had initiated to form the law after its inspectors found over 50 percent of the health facilities did not comply with government standards. Many operators had even not taken MoH’s approval to run the hospital.
The accreditation standard issue came to the fore again following news of Norvic International Hospital surgeon operating a patient’s wrong leg. The patient Bindu Poudel’s medical file with the hospital shows Dr Prabin Nepal operated her right leg while the problem was with her left leg, according to an informed source.
The source added there was an agreement that Norvic Hospital would bear all costs incurring during the course of her treatment.
Dr Chand said having a dedicated regulator body is essential especially when there is a growing number of private health facilities and reports of negligence and deteriorating quality of services.
At present, the Curative Services Division of Ministry of Health grants approval to hospital with over 200 beds while there is a separate monitoring and evaluation unit. However, the unit has been constantly questioned for its ineffectiveness to monitor malpractices.