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PMC starts single window for renewal of nursing home licences

The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) on Thursday started a single window for renewal of nursing home licences of private hospitals under the Bombay Nursing Home Registration Act 1949 to streamline the renewal process, but the health department of the civic body overlooked the 2021 amendment to the Act in the process.

The state government on January 14, 2021, amended the Bombay Nursing Home Registration Act 1949 to ease the hardships caused to patients following which, the act came to be called the Maharashtra Nursing Homes (Amendment) Rules, 2021.

As per the amended rules, the minimum staff for nursing homes with 10 or more beds should include a duty medical officer (MBBS degree), two qualified midwives, and one qualified nurse. Accordingly, as many as three doctors and nine nurses would be needed for three shifts. Further, there should be a 140 square foot waiting room, an examination room of the same size, a distance of six foot between two beds, and a nursing station after every five beds among others.

The Indian Medical Association (IMA) and Hospital Board of India (HBI) opposed the amended rules, calling them impractical.

In June 2023, the state government conducted state-wide workshops of private doctors for the effective implementation of the amended nursing home rules, but with licenses of as many as 440 private hospitals and clinics in Pune city due for renewal this March, the civic body took the amended rules lightly in starting the renewal of nursing home licenses of private hospitals.

Dr Manisha Naik, assistant health officer, PMC, said that the renewals have been started zone-wise and two days will be given to hospitals and clinics of each zone. “On Monday, the process for renewal of licenses of 67 hospitals in zone I was started. Out of which, procedures for renewal of licenses of 28 hospitals have been completed. The renewal of the remaining licenses will be carried out tomorrow. However, no relaxation has been given in the nursing home rules for the renewals,” said Dr Naik.

Dr Bhagwan Pawar, health officer, PMC, said that the single window for renewal of licenses has been started to streamline the process. “We are considering all provisions mentioned in the 2021 amended rules for nursing homes during the renewals. However, in some cases we have to give relaxation,” he said.

Dr Sanjay Patil, chairman, HBI Pune chapter, said that the amended rules are impractical and akin to harassment for hospitals. The hospitals can make changes that are feasible but impractical rules cannot be followed. “Last week, we had a discussion with the health ministry officials and explained to them the problems with the amended rules. They can ask the upcoming hospitals to follow the new amendments but the existing hospitals should be exempted. We are hoping for a fresh order to be issued by the state government regarding the Nursing Home Act,” Dr Patil said. Hindustan Times

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