The Madhya Pradesh health department cancelled the licenses of as many as 60 hospitals after finding irregularities and violations under the MP Nursing Homes and Clinical Establishment Act 1973 and Rules 1997, said a health official on Sunday.
Following the deaths of nearly 4,000 individuals in the second wave of Covid-19, the health department examined 692 hospitals to look into accusations that private hospitals were charging additional money and without providing any services, such as oxygen and medications.
“In many hospitals, the team didn’t find any resident doctors. Most of them employed homeopaths and Ayush doctors while qualified allopathic doctors were just visiting doctors. In many hospitals, the team didn’t find ICUs and operation theatres, oxygen equipped beds, ventilators and other basic facilities,” said the minister.
Now, these hospitals will have to apply for licenses again after improving their facilities.
The state government will declare only well-equipped hospitals as Covid-dedicated in August.
However, health experts and activists have demanded criminal action against the administrations of the disqualified hospitals.
“We were running a helpline during the second wave of Covid-19 to help people find suitable hospitals, oxygen and medicines. We received scores of complaints against private hospitals for not having qualified doctors and other facilities,” said Seema Kurup, a Bhopal-based activist.
“They would admit patients and give them normal medicines but when their condition would deteriorate, they would refer them to other hospitals. Many people died due to this negligence. The cancellation of licenses is not enough to punish these people,” she added.
Another health activist SR Azad said, “These people should be booked under Section 304 (death by negligence) of the Indian Penal Code.”
The Opposition also attacked the state government for giving licenses to substandard hospitals. “Who has given licenses to these hospitals? Why didn’t CMHO inspect the facilities regularly? Why did the government show more dependency on private hospitals for the treatment of Covid-19 patients? These are some questions which also need to be answered by the state government. To hide their mistakes, the state government is shifting blame on private hospitals,” said JP Dhanopia, spokesperson, MP Congress Committee.