The Indian Health Ministry is likely to table in the next Parliamentary session the redrafted Clinical Establishments (healthcare and regulation) Bill 2007, requiring compulsory registration of all healthcare establishments. According to sources, the original Bill introduced two years ago was sent to the scrutiny of the Parliamentary committee and has since lapsed. Many of the recommendations made by the committee are being incorporated into the new draft of the Bill that is getting ready.
It is learnt that the new Healthcare Establishments Bill will cover a vast expanse of healthcare services calling for mandatory registration of laboratories, diagnostic services, R&D facilities doing clinical trials on patients and all systems of medicines besides clinical establishments.
The word 'clinical' in the title is to be changed in the new Bill because it gives an impression of covering only allopathic clinics. Included in the large canvas of healthcare services requiring mandatory registration are OPD services as even surgical interventions are done of late, without a patient's stay in a nursing home or hospital. The format for provisional registration of institutions is being finalized in order to be introduced immediately after the passage of the Bill. Stakeholders and experts have sent feedbacks to the department on the proposed format.
It remains to be seen if the Bill will cover government hospitals as recommended by the Parliamentary panel. According to its report, "The Committee does not find any substance in exclusion of Government/public health institutions/ autonomous institutions from the purview of the Act as put forth before it through some representations."