ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Regulation and the Medical Profession

Clinical Establishments Act, 2010

The Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act, 2010 which is in force in a few states is being sought to be placed before the state legislature in Maharashtra amidst vehement protest from the medical fraternity. This legislation, which the Indian Medical Association claims will lead to doctors being harassed, was born of a long patients' rights movement against abysmal infrastructure conditions and poorly qualifi ed staff in small clinics, hospitals, and diagnostic and pathology laboratories.

The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has been running a sustained campaign against the Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act, 2010, for some time now. In June 2012, it called a one-day national strike to protest the Act. Under the Act, no hospital, nursing home, clinic, diagnostic centre or any other establishment offering diagnosis or treatment in any recognised system of medicine may function without registration. It applies to establishments of all types of ownership except those belonging to the armed forces. Registration, which must be renewed every five years, is received on meeting certain minimum standards for infrastructure, equipment and human power. These standards, which differ a­ccording to the category of establishment, are laid down by a national council with representation from medical councils, associations and government departments (GOI 2010a). All establishments are required to maintain computerised records, conduct audits of their work, and display their rates for various services. The permissible range of rates is determined by the government and depends on the category of establishment (GOI 2010b). Failure to comply with these standards can result in cancellation of registration and a fine of up to Rs 5 lakh (GOI 2010a).

The Act was passed by the Lok Sabha in August 2010, and is now law in Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, M­izoram, Sikkim and the union territories. It is being introduced for adoption in various state assemblies even as the IMA fights it tooth and nail. The most r­ecent controversy concerns the plans to place it before the state legislature in Maharashtra.

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