Patients’ Charter of Rights in the Offing
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By , Kounteya Sinha
New Delhi , India
Panel Recommends Setting Up Of NHRDA
India is putting in place a patients’ charter of rights, including ethical standards.
A new National Health Regulatory and Development Authority (NHRDA) will monitor and enforce essential healthcare regulations to control entry, quality, quantity and price.
The Planning Commission’s panel on universal healthcare has recommended the setting up of the NHRDA that will be statutorily empowered to regulate and monitor /audit both public and private sectors and ensure enforcement and redressal. The NHRDA will be linked to the ministry of health and family welfare. It will be an autonomous body — similar to the office of RBI Governor — and will have statutory powers to regulate the healthcare sector.
According to panel’s chairman Dr K Srinath Reddy, the NHRDA will be responsible for overseeing and enforcing contracts for public and private providers, ensuring accreditation of all health providers, preparing and enforcing standards for facilities, staff, scope, access, quality and rationality of services and costs of healthcare with clear norms for payment.
The NHRDA will also ensure adherence to standard protocols for treatment with involvement of professional organizations, establish a system of regular audit of prescriptions and in-patient records and death audits.
“The NHRDA will be supported at the state level by State Health Regulatory and Development Authorities (SHRDAs) with corresponding powers. The entry of states into the universal healthcare system will be predicated on their setting up SHRDAs with powers determined uniformly across all states,” Dr Reddy said,
So how will this Authority enforce the patients’ charter of rights including ethical standards?
“There will be ombudsperson offices operating under the Authority at the state level that will be responsible for this. The Authority’ work, including the ombudsperson, will be backed up by health system evaluation units that will be staffed by public health specialists and data management experts and will draw on external expertise as well as youth or senior volunteers who can support data collection. They will also work in close partnership with civil society partners and community support mechanisms to ensure participatory engagements with the community that will help foster local ownership,” Dr Reddy explained.