ISLAMABAD-Ministry of National Health Services failed in establishing a health regulatory authority for the federal capital despite passage of above 4 years of the announcement of the initiative, The Nation learnt on Monday.

Officials told The Nation that establishment of Islamabad Healthcare Regulatory Authority was delayed due to administrative and legislative hurdles at the ministry level.

The initiative of establishing Islamabad Healthcare Regulatory Authority was announced in 2015 by the previous government to monitor and regulate all the healthcare services providing departments in the city.

Officials told The Nation that it was decided that the authority will regulate all private and public sector hospitals and healthcare providers to curb the illegal practices in the health sector.

However, officials said that the matter was delayed as the ministry of NHS failed in drafting legislative work following rules and regulations.

According to the report submitted in Senate Standing Committee on NHS, available with The Nation, to ensure provision of quality health care services, promote patient safety and provide mechanism of banning quackery in all its forms and manifestations by the health sector, the draft bill makes provision for establishment of Federal Health Regulatory Authority in federal areas.

In this context, an initiative was taken under the guidance of minister of state for NHS in 2015. A draft bill was developed and circulated among stakeholders.

The report said that in order to take the process further, a consultative meeting on draft bill of Federal Health Regulatory Authority was held on January 15, chaired by minister of state for NHS of Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD), and participated by representatives of major public and private hospitals in Islamabad, Punjab Healthcare Commission and Health Regulatory Authority Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

All suggestions made by the participants were incorporated to finalise the bill. Subsequently, a summary was moved to Cabinet Division to solicit its approval.

The Special Committee of Cabinet for disposal of legislative cases considered the summary dated 12th October, 2015 submitted by the ministry of NHS for approval of draft federal health care regulations bill, 2015 on February 11, 2016 and accorded in principle approval, said the report.

The conditions were only Islamabad Capital Territory be mentioned in section 1 (3) of the bill and year of the bill be changed from 2015 to 2016.

The decision of the Special Committee of Cabinet for disposal of legislative cases was ratified on 15th July 2016. After the clearance from Special Committee of Cabinet for Disposal of legislative cases and incorporating the changes suggested by the special committee, the said bill was submitted to ministry of law and justice.

Report said that the ministry of law and justice raised few observations which were also addressed and the bill was resubmitted to them in August 2016. The bill has now been vetted by the ministry of law and justice.

Later, Islamabad Healthcare Regulation Act 2018 was promulgated on 22nd may 2018 for establishment of Islamabad Healthcare Regulatory Authority under the ministry of NHS.

The authority was mandated for provision of quality healthcare services by implementing quality standards by the healthcare sector to residents of Islamabad, report added.

The document said, under the section 5, clause (2) of the Act, the federal government shall notify Board of the Authority which shall consist of 9 members, 7 of whom shall be nominated on recommendation of the committee constituted under this Act and the remaining two members shall be nominated by the federal cabinet whereas under section 6, clause (1) of the Act; a selection committee will be nominated by the federal government to determine areas of expertise and skills required for membership of the Board and develop detailed criteria for selection accordingly.

Report said that the notification of nomination for selection committee under section 6, clause 91) of the Act requires approval of the federal government i.e. federal cabinet. It said that summary for the cabinet is to be submitted on May 17, 2019.