NHRC in favour of watchdog to resolve patients’ woes: Joseph

Mumbai: Acting chairperson of NHRC Justice Cyriac Joseph today said the Commission would soon recommend to Centre and state governments setting up a regulatory body to curb malpractices in private and public hospitals and address the issues being faced by patients.

“On the basis of numerous complaints received during the public hearing, the NHRC will discuss the issues and submit reports to the state governments and Centre to set up a regulatory body that will look into the complaints filed by the patients and their relatives,” he said.

He was talking to reporters after the second and final day of public hearing on ‘Rights to Health Care’ held at Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) at Deonar here.

“The grievance reddressal cells established in government hospitals were not responding, non-availability specialist doctors especially in rural areas, unhygienic conditions of the hospitals, high cost of treatment, unnecessary and unwarranted reference in private hospitals by the doctors of public hospitals, were some of the issues that need to be addressed to protect the health care rights of the patients,” he said.

The Medical Council of India can only regulate the doctors. There should be a law to curb irregularities prevailing in hospitals across the country and therefore there must be a regulatory body, which will look into the complaints filed against erring hospitals, he added.

“Our panelists, experts and members are of the view that either a new regulatory body should be made or the Medical Council should be empowered with amendments, as it has limited vested powers to conduct inquiry into professional misconduct cases alone,” Joseph said.

Joseph, along with the chairpersons of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan Human Rights Commissions, heard around 88 complaints of medical negligence against government hospitals or servants and granted collective compensation of Rs 4.25 lakh in five cases apart from issuing show-cause notices to the respective state governments.

Three benches also directed state governments to conduct detailed inquiries into few cases.