The government in a directive has asked the private medical college hospitals to reserve at least 10 percent beds free for the poor to ensure their health services.
Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) of the health and family welfare ministry issued the directives last month.DGHS published a set of 11 point directives including the rules and regulations of getting licence for the private medical college hospital, dental college hospital, general hospital, clinic, nursing home, diagnostic center, pathological lab, dental clinic and blood bank.
“We will strongly monitor whether the directives are being carried out. If any institution does not comply with them, they will not be able to renew their licences,” DGHS Director (Hospital and Clinic) Aminul Hasan told the daily sun.
As per the directives, every private medical college hospital has to keep at least 10 percent bed free for the poor so that they get free treatment.
It also said every private medical college hospital has to ensure quality emergency services round the clock.
DGHS in cooperation with the law enforcement agency will conduct drive to check health services in private healthcare providing institutions.
The directive also said proper standard in providing specialised services including ICU, CCU, Dialysis and NICU will have to be maintained.“If allegation of providing such services without maintaining standard is proved, licence of the institutions will be cancelled and stern action will be taken against them.”
As per the order of the High Court, charges or fees of private clinics, hospitals and diagnostic centres have to be displayed.
DGHS also asked the physicians registered with Bangladesh Medical and Dental Council (BMDC) not to provide health services under the institutions having no approval from health directorate.
It also asked the private health service providing institutions to display the licence given by the DGHS so that it becomes visible to everyone.
Health and Family Welfare Minister Zahid Malik at a press conference in April this year said the government was planning to fix the charges of services provided by private hospitals and health clinics.
“It is a complex process, but once implemented, it will help ensure that service seekers aren’t cheated,” he told a media conference at the Secretariat ahead of the National Health Service Week.
The health minister further said the government would grade the quality of services and finalise the chart of charges of services provided by private hospitals and health clinics.
A study of Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) in last year said private hospitals and diagnostic centres have turned into “excessive profit-seeking businesses” due to a lack of government monitoring.
These healthcare facilities have established a “commission-based marketing mechanism” where everyone — from physicians to receptionists — benefits from the widespread malpractice, it said, adding that in most of the cases, the patients, despite paying excessive fees, do not get proper healthcare services in return.
According to the TIB study, the number of privately-owned registered healthcare facilities increased to 15,698 in 2017 from just 33 in 1982.
In its 16 recommendations to establish transparency and accountability in this sector, it suggested that the regulatory authorities like DGHS and BMDC increase their organisational capacity at central and field levels to have better inspection capabilities.
TIB also recommended that the authorities like the DGHS take steps to identify the unregistered institutions and take legal action against them.