Private Health Services Regulatory Council to streamline Sri Lankaâ€™s private sector medical services
By Vandana Jayasinghe
Colombo, 08 January, (Asiantribune.com): The private sector health care institutions have been given a period of three months to register with the newly formed Private Health Services Regulatory Council, which was appointed to regulate the sector to provide a better health service to the people.
The 14-year-old struggle to implement the Private Medical Institutions Act became reality recently with the support of the Opposition political parties in the Sri Lankaâ€™s Parliament and the Council was formed under this Act, which has more teeth to bring the errant private sector service providers to the book. And there are provisions in the Act to regulate the booming private health services sector, where over 60 percent of the total population depends on.
According to Ministry of Health and Nutrition sources, there are over 200 private hospitals in the country, but only 80 such institutions function with licenses. Under the new regulation, it is illegal to run an institution, which provides health care services, without registering with the council from April 1.
The council is represented by the professional bodies such as Sri Lanka Medical Council, Independent Medical Practitioners Association and Dental Association and is headed by the Director General Health Services Dr. Athula Kahadaliyanage.
The Act has four main objectives:
* Ensure efficiency and effectiveness of the private sector health care services,
* Improve the health of the population,
* Ensure equity and
* Ensure the quality of the services provided by the private sector health providers.
The Secretary of the Council Dr. Amal Harsha de Silva said that this was a long felt need as the sector was booming and recorded a growth of 15 to 20 percent annually.
According to Dr. de Silva, a fine and an imprisonment or both would be given to the service providers who violate the regulation and the fine would vary according to the offence they commit.
Apart from 200 hospitals, there are over 450 medical labs, 12,000 part time General Practitioners (GPs), 850 full time GPs, 750 dental practitioners, home nursing care and ambulance service providers in the private health sector, where over 10,000 people are employed.
Dr. de Silva said that the charges, which are one of the major issues in the private health sector, would be finalised through a dialogue with the service providers.
- Asian Tribune -