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Rules make for quality health care:Punjab Healthcare Commission

Lahore:Punjab Healthcare Commission (PHC) has made the draft rules of the commission public, for the consumption of the citizens of the province as well as the medical fraternity. These draft rules are intended to assure the high quality of care delivered in healthcare establishments throughout Punjab starting from Basic Health Units and dispensaries to the tertiary level hospitals both from private and public sectors. These rules, procedures and Minimum Service Delivery Standards shall apply to each and every healthcare establishment including private clinics, Poly-clinics, private hospitals and public sector health outlets including dispensaries, BHUs, Rural Health Centers, Tehsil headquarter hospitals, DHq. hospitals and the Teaching hospitals attached with public as well as private medical colleges in the province. The Minimum Service Standards tabulated in the draft rules include access to care, continuity of care, comprehensiveness of care, coordination of services, humaneness of treatment, conservation in intervention, safety of environment, professionalism of health providers, and participation in useful studies. In accordance with the Public Healthcare Commission Act 2010, all healthcare establishments will require to be registered and licensed by the Punjab Healthcare Commission. No Healthcare establishment shall operate in Punjab without being duly registered and licensed by the PHC which will develop a strategic plan for this purpose. The Act empowers the PHC to prescribe the appropriate manner and form for licensing. This process may be initiated in a phased manner keeping in view the grounds reality and allied factors. For the first five years, a regular license shall be issued on compliance with the Minimum Service Delivery Standards determined by the PHC. On receipt of the complete provisional licensing applications, the relevant healthcare establishment will submit detailed information of all health providers including medical staff, consultants, paramedical staff and other employees which shall be deemed registered under the PHC Act 2010. Once the healthcare establishment has met the standard determined by the PHC, the clinician and the hospital management will request the Commission for an inspection / survey of the premises. If the healthcare outlet fails to meet certain standards, the PHC may issue a conditional license and in case of meeting the outstanding standards in a reasonable period of time, a regular license will be issued to the applicants which will be valid for a period of five years. This license is not transferable or assignable and shall be valid only for the premises named in the application. Re-application for license shall be filed when a change of 50% or greater ownership occurs.

The PHC may suspend a license, deny renewal of a license and revoke a license besides imposing a fine in an amount not to exceed rupees five lac on inspection after a complaint or after finding a violation of any provision of the draft rules or abetting the commission of any illegal act like repeated cases of medical negligence against any health outlet which will be given reasonable period of time to respond in writing with an acceptable plan of correction for non-compliance. The results of the investigation of any complaint against the health outlets will be reviewed and upon recommendation of the Team Leader of the inspection team forwarded to the Board of Commissioners for further action.

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