In a move to restrain growing violence by family as well as patient’s friends on healthcare professionals, the government has proposed making such acts as an offense that cannot be bailed. The Ministry of Health is preparing to launch a law that protects healthcare professionals. A note issued by the Ministry indicated that the Ministry suggested legislation to tackle the problem of abuse against health care professionals and property damage to clinical facilities. A draft law named-‘ Healthcare Service Personnel and Clinical Establishments’ (Violence Prohibition and Property Damage) Bill, 2019 has been composed.
The draft law presents acts of abuse against nurses, doctors, ambulance drivers, medical students, midwives and other helpers a crime that cannot be bailed. The proposal also seeks to compensate these experts for injury as well as compensation for loss or harm to institutions including clinics, hospitals, ambulances, dispensaries, sanatoriums or even mobile units.
The proposal seeks to penalize offenders around six months to three years of imprisonment, with a fine of between Rs 50,000 to Rs 5 lakh. However, if the accused is found guilty of severe damage, the penalty could range from three to ten years, along with with a fine between Rs 2 lakh to Rs 10 lakh. An individual convicted shall pay twice the fair market value of the loss caused or land harmed.
The draft also says that when a health care staff complains in writing about an assault, the owner of the establishment must tell the police to lodge an FIR.
The Bill also seeks to provide security for para-medical employees, providers of diagnostic services, ambulance drivers and assistants. The draft proposal is open to modifications that can be made within 30 days of the date of notification.