LAHORE – The Punjab Healthcare Commission (PHC) on Saturday shared the draft rules with both the medical fraternity and the public for comments.

The rules aim at ensuring high quality of care in healthcare establishments, starting from basic health units (BHUs) and dispensaries to tertiary-level hospitals both in the private and public sectors, throughout the province.

These rules, procedures and minimum service delivery standards shall apply to each and every healthcare establishment, including private clinics, polyclinics, private hospitals and public sector health outlets such as dispensaries, BHUs, rural health centres, tehsil headquarters hospitals, district headquarter hospitals and teaching hospitals attached with public and private medical colleges in the province.

The minimum service standards tabulated in the draft rules include access to care, continuity of care, comprehensiveness of care, coordination of services, humaneness of treatment, conservation in intervention, safety of environment, professionalism of health providers and participation in useful studies.

In accordance with the Public Healthcare Commission Act 2010, all healthcare establishments will require to be registered and licensed by the PHC. No healthcare establishment shall operate in Punjab without being duly registered and licensed by the PHC, which will develop a strategic plan for this purpose.

The Act empowers the PHC to prescribe the appropriate manner and form for licensing. This process may be initiated in a phased manner keeping in view the ground reality and allied factors. For the first five years, a regular license shall be issued on compliance with the minimum service delivery standards determined by the PHC.

On receipt of the complete provisional licensing applications, the relevant healthcare establishment will submit detailed information of all health providers, including medical staff, consultants, paramedical staff and other employees, and shall be deemed registered under the PHC Act 2010.

Once the healthcare establishment has met the standard determined by the PHC, the clinician and the hospital management will request the Commission for an inspection / survey of the premises. If the healthcare outlet fails to meet certain standards, the PHC may issue a conditional license.

In case of meeting the outstanding standards in a reasonable period of time, a regular license will be issued to the applicants and it will be valid for five years. This license is not transferable or assignable and shall be valid only for the premises named in the application. Re-application for license shall be filed when a change of 50 per cent or greater ownership occurs.

It had been stated that the PHC might suspend a license, deny renewal of a license or revoke a license, besides imposing a fine, on inspection after a complaint or after finding a violation of any provision of the draft rules or abetting the commission of any illegal act like repeated cases of medical negligence against any health outlet, which will be given reasonable period of time to respond in writing with an acceptable plan of correction for non-compliance.

The results of the investigation of any complaint against the health outlets will be reviewed and on recommendation of the team leader of the inspection team forwarded to the Board of Commissioners for further action. The draft rules have been published in the Gazette of Punjab and displayed on the PHC’s website.