Private practice by medicos: CAT seeks report on follow-up action

Srinagar: Taking strong note of private practice during working hours by the doctors, the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) sought a report on follow up action against such doctors from the competent authority with regard to complaints against them.

The Division Bench of M S Latief and Prasant Kumar passed the direction to the petition filed by three doctors seeking orders postulated by the enquiry and allowing them for private practice beyond duty hours.

The case projected by them is that the Government order dated 27.10.2022, which has the effect of placing ban on their private practice, pending enquiry into the allegations regarding violation of Standard Treatment Guidelines (STGs) issued by the National Health Authority, a committee was constituted to conduct an in-depth enquiry into the allegations regarding violations of STGs in terms of order dated 23.1.2023 and the said allegations was to be submitted by the Committee within 15 days positively.

As per the said order the complaints regarding violation of STGs with the report of health agencies had to be placed before the enquiry committee through member secretary of holding the in-depth enquiry after taking note of the Government order dated 12.8.2022 where-under instruction have been issued to the doctors to refrain from the private practice during duty hours and regarding other malpractices.

The Bench disposed of the case with the direction to the authorities to conclude the enquiry initiated against the applicants vide Government order dated 23.1.2023 within a period of two weeks to be reckoned from the date copy is served upon them. “It is apt to mention here that the enquiry ought to have been concluded within the time frame mentioned in the order dated 23.1.2023 itself”, the CAT reminded.

The Bench in the larger interests of patient care directed to provide the court as to whether the terms of reference of Government of order dated 23.1.2023 which reads as and when any complaint regarding violation of Standard Treatment Guidelines (STGs) along with the report of J&K Health Agency is received in the department, same shall be placed before the aforesaid enquiry committee through its Member Secretary for holding in dept enquiry.

The Bench said that on the receipt of complaint, the enquiry committee shall submit its enquiry report within 15 days positively to the administration department and take note of Government order dated 12.8.2022 where-under instructions have been issued to the doctors to refrain from practice during official hours/duty hours in health institutions and other mal-practices, are adhered to in letter and spirit.

Court further directed the concerned authorities to prepare a date as to whether any such complaints have been received and their disposal as contained in the aforesaid Government order dated 23.1.2023 and the follow up action taken as the interest of patient care and public at large warrants efficiency both in health care and in the hospitals.

“Registry is directed to serve a copy of judgment to Commissioner Secretary H&ME department, the Principal GMC Srinagar, the administrator of Associated Hospitals, Director Health services Kashmir and National Health Mission Kashmir by submitting the report on the issue before the Deputy Registrar of the Court within two weeks.

The Court on malpractices in the Health Department has recorded that the Doctors’ profession is considered and perceived noble, which is mainly dedicated to serve society, demanding professionalism and accountability.

“Healthcare is an important facet of article 21 of the Constitution of India and the doctors play a pivotal role in the society and they are guardians of health and wellbeing of people as such are entrusted with the responsibility of preserving and restoring the health of individuals and communities,” reads the judgment.

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