‘Lack of effective regulation of private medical sector makes it an urgent need’

The Jan Swasthya Abhiyan (JSA), a national platform working on health and healthcare services, urged the Ministry of Health to immediately implement the Charter of Patients’ Rights and ensure the inclusion of the entire range of patients’ rights without any dilution.

“The adoption of the charter is urgent to ensure that the many violations of patients’ rights are immediately addressed to stop loss of health and even lives,” the umbrella group said in a press release.

“If the charter is not adopted before the Lok Sabha elections, then a large-scale campaign will be taken up by JSA to demand this as an electoral issue.”

A national consultation was held earlier this week where they deliberated on patients’ experiences and violations faced by them especially in private hospitals.

The consultation was organised by SATHI, Pune and Sama Resource Group for Women and Health,with participation from several patients’ rights groups and health activists from across India including states of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi.

A key issue discussed was the Charter of Patient’s Rights which has been developed by National Human Rights Commission.

“In August 2018, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare announced its plans to implement this Charter, which was placed in the public domain for inviting comments up to 30th September, 2018. Although nearly 4 months have elapsed since this declaration of intent, there seems to have been no further progress on finalisation and adoption of the charter,” the group noted.

Reference framework

The charter will act as a reference framework for the Union and State governments to give complete protection to patients, while they set up operational mechanisms to make these rights functional and enforceable by law.

“This is especially important and an urgent need… because India lacks effective regulation of the private medical sector,’’ the group noted in its release.

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