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Pune : Nursing Homes Under Criminal Charges

Aug 14, 2013, 
PUNE: Criminal cases have been filed against six more nursing homes in the city for functioning without the mandatory licence from the civic body.

"The six erring nursing homes we have filed criminal cases are located in Vishrantwadi, Tingrenagar, Dhole Patil Road, Hadapsar, Wanowrie and Katraj," said S T Pardeshi, medical officer of health, Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC).

Earlier, the civic body had filed cases against five nursing homes on July 31. The health department has served show-cause notices to 94 nursing homes in the last two months.

These nursing homes were told to comply with the norms within a month or face legal action. Health officials have started filing criminal cases against doctors who have failed to get their clinical set up regularised in the stipulated time-frame.

As per the provisions of the Bombay Nursing Home Registration Act 1949, amendment 2005, it is mandatory for a doctor running and managing a hospital or a nursing home to have it registered with the civic body.

In 2011-12, the civic body had filed nine criminal cases against hospitals and all the cases were decided in favour of the Pune Municipal Corporation.

The crackdown is causing anxiety among the medical fraternity as most nursing homes that operate from residential premises on the city's outskirts do not possess the licence. Many said the civic body must relax some norms.

On the reasons for reluctance in seeking registration, advocate Milind Salunkhe, said, "Most nursing homes running from 1BHK or 2BHK residential flats were converted into hospitals. They do not fit with the rules under the act. They know they cannot get the registration (licence) on the basis of their present set-up. Hence, they are reluctant to seek licences and opt to operate without it."

A registration for the nursing home under the Act requires many documents and compliance. "Getting all documentary compliance, such as a no-objection certificate (NOC) from local governing body's civil department is very difficult. Besides, if a nursing home is situated on the first or above floors, it should have a separate staircase as well as an elevator, sufficient parking space, separate water connection, among other things. Fulfilling all these norms becomes extremely difficult for them. They know that even if they apply for a licence they are not going to get it. Hence, they prefer to run the nursing homes without one," said Salunkhe

"Nursing homes play an important role. A solution must be found out or it will demoralise doctors and can badly affect the city's healthcare system," said Nitin Bhagali, head of the hospital board of Indian Medical Association, Pune branch.

Why many nursing homes in Pune city operate without licence?

* Many of these nursing homes run from 1BHK or 2BHK residential flats that were converted into hospital.

* They do not fit into the scheme of things designed for them under the Bombay Nursing Home Registration Act 1949, amendment 2005

* Doctors running these nursing homes know they cannot get the registration (licence) on the basis of their present set-up. Hence, they are reluctant to seek licence and opt to operate without it.

* Getting a registration for the nursing home under the Act requires many documents and compliance.

* The nursing homes need no-objection certificate (NOC) from local governing body's civil department, if a nursing home is situated on the first or above floors, it should have a separate staircase as well as an elevator, sufficient parking space, separate water connection, etc.

* Fulfilling all these norms becomes extremely difficult for them. They (doctors) know that even if they apply for a licence they are not going to get it. Hence, they prefer to run nursing homes without a licence.

A way out

Technical and structural norms such as the length of the staircase and height of the building among others that are laid down for nursing homes can be relaxed if the nursing home has all the medical facilities required and is manned by trained medical professionals, medical experts said.

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