Regulating healthcare sector

PUNJAB Healthcare Commission has launched a campaign to register all healthcare institutions in the province and so far 34,500 units have got themselves registered and granted licenses. The Commission has warned that lists of all treatment centres have been prepared and those not complying with the regulatory requirements would be closed.
Health is a very delicate and sensitive issue as it is a question of life and death of patients but regrettably no proper attention was paid to check unbridled growth of illegal and fake clinics providing all sorts of treatment. Most of these bogus clinics and outlets are manned by non-qualified persons whose only objective is to mint money and as a consequence many innocent souls lost life or their diseases get complicated. The worst aspect of the entire episode is that such outlets are operating under the full knowledge of local, provincial and federal authorities concerned. Most of them also undertake aggressive media campaigns to attract people besides wall-chalking and distribution of pamphlets. It was in this backdrop that Punjab Healthcare Commission was established to help improve the quality, safety and efficiency of healthcare service delivery for all Public and Private Healthcare Establishments (HCEs) including Allopaths, Homeopaths and Tibbs in the province. One must appreciate the exercise being undertaken by the Commission these days to regulate working of all such institutions as patients cannot and should not be left to the mercy of swindlers. We hope that the campaign would not be left halfway as we have witnessed in the case of action initiated against pharmacies and chemists selling spurious and substandard drugs. No doubt, acquisition of license would mean the Commission or the provincial government would earn significantly if the registration process succeeds but this should not be the sole criterion. The main objective should be to scrutinise credentials of all institutions/clinics/treatment centres/laboratories and strict penal action should be taken after expiry of the deadline for registration. All this should be done in a highly transparent manner and special attention should also be paid to check fake practitioners and substandard laboratories.

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