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Winds of change in health sector

Staff Reporter

CII committee submits draft report on accreditation for hospitals

NEW DELHI: Regulation and standardisation through a system of accreditation for the healthcare sector in India may be just round the corner with the Confederation of Indian Industry's National Healthcare Committee president, Naresh Trehan, submitting the first draft report on "accreditation system for hospitals" to the Quality Council of India (QCI).

Earlier, CII's National Healthcare Committee and the Indian Healthcare Federation (IHF) had jointly constituted a task force to look into various aspects of accreditation for hospitals.

According to Dr. Trehan, "the draft reports are prepared to incorporate standards for all healthcare institutions right from nursing homes to top tertiary care hospitals. We are working towards making all healthcare inclusive."

There would be checks and balances to ensure accountability by hospitals when it comes to maintaining specified standards, he added.

Draft to be reviewed

Meanwhile, the QCI -- an autonomous body created by an Act of Parliament -- would review the draft and throw it open to discussion. The barometers of standards in the draft include quality of infrastructure, manpower, incidence of infections, level of patient information and patient safety in hospitals.

The Chief Executive Officer of Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute, Y.P. Bhati, said the committee members studied many standards before bringing out the first Indian version.

"We consulted the Joint Commission International, Austrian, and the Thai accreditation standards before we started work on the Indian system,'' he said.

"The task force has tried to take the best from each while keeping in mind that the recommendations need to suit the Indian system. Accreditation is the formal recognition of the technical competence of an organisation to carry out conformity assessment activities in specified areas," Mr. Bhati said.

"It is a process by which a governmental or non-government agency grants recognition to healthcare institutions that meet certain standards,'' he added.

According to CII, India has to become a medical destination of the world.

To increase the level of confidence of the healthcare sector accreditation would be needed sooner rather than later.

The Delhi Medical Council member, Anil Bansal, said it was in no way going to benefit the common man.

`Must reach common man'

"Talks about accreditation are best only for multinationals and hospitals catering to foreign patients. In a country were quacks are still allowed to treat patients, one needs to work towards making quality healthcare available for the poor," he said.

"The common man should be given a choice to avail of medical facilities at a big or a small hospital without having to work through what now appears to be nothing more than a quick sales advertising gimmick,'' he added.

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