Applications for hospital, clinic registration rise sharply

The number of applications for registration of hospitals, clinics and diagnostic centers has increased by leaps and bounds after the authorities adopted a zero tolerance policy and launched a coordinated raid against unregistered healthcare facilities recently.

A total of 2,136 healthcare centers have filed applications with the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) for registration between 26 May and 1 June. Of them, 845 applications have been submitted for new registration and the remaining ones for renewal, according to DGHS sources.

The directorate’s Hospitals and Clinics Section officials said they normally receive a maximum of 100 applications each week, but the number of applications now peaked at more than 300 per day.

Professor Ahmedul Kabir, additional director general of DGHS, told Prothom Alo that the number of applications for new registration or renewal of registration has jumped overnight on heels of the decision to seal off all unregistered healthcare facilities across the country.

Describing the development as a good sign, Professor Ahmed said all unregistered medical centers are illegal and treatment cannot be allowed at these illegal facilities.

The health directorate, in a meeting on 25 May, took a decision to seal off all unregistered hospitals, clinics, and diagnostic centers within the next 72 hours. It launched a raid on the next day and shut a total of 1,456 unregistered healthcare facilities across the country until Thursday.

According to DGHS, there are five types of private medical facilities – hospital or clinic, diagnostic centers, blood banks, dental clinics, and medical check-up centers for outbound citizens. They need to get registered with the DGHS to operate in the country.

The owners have to submit applications online through due process and later the Hospitals and Clinics Section of DGHS takes care of the registration process. The terms and conditions vary from type to type.

Some 2,713 applications were pending at the DGHS until Thursday due to different shortcomings and flaws. Among the new applications, 2,028 institutions submitted applications properly, but are yet to be registered due to lack of official inspection by the DGHS.

In total, some 5,000 hospitals, clinics, and diagnostic centers are now awaiting registration at the DGHS.

Regarding the issue, Professor Ahmed said the qualified institutions will soon be given registration.

“We are giving importance to this,” he added.

The number of registered healthcare facilities stood at 10,922 on Thursday, with 7,043 diagnostic centers, 3,717 hospitals and clinics, and 162 blood banks.

A DGHS official, who wished to be unnamed, told Prothom Alo that some owners start operating their facilities immediately after submitting an application for registration. They begin treatment of patients without waiting for verification from the health authorities.

Preeti Chakrabarti, chairman of Universal Medical College Hospital and executive member of Private Hospital and Diagnostic Center Owners Association, said they welcome the authorities’ move as it would ensure accountability and benefit the patients.

“But many innocent entrepreneurs face unwanted harassment during such drives. The DGHS needs to be cautious in this regard,” she said.