A High Court bench comprising justice Farah Mahbub and justice SM Moniruzzaman on Sunday said, "Whenever a sick person is brought to a hospital or clinic or a physician, the hospital authorities concerned cannot refuse to provide immediate emergency medical care to that sick person. If a hospital or clinic does not have such an emergency healthcare system, the person should be referred to a nearby hospital where emergency services are available.”
In addition, the High Court has asked for a list of all private and government hospitals and clinics, separate lists of hospitals and clinics that have emergency medical departments and the overall picture of healthcare in the form of a report to be submitted to the court within three months. There should be an emergency health department when issuing new licenses to private hospitals or clinics and renewing licenses of existing registered hospitals or clinics.
The court issued a rule asking the health secretary, president of the Bangladesh Medical and Dental Council (BMDC), the Bangladesh Private Medical College Association and the Bangladesh Private Hospital Clinic and Diagnostic Owners Association to explain as to why this directive should not be passed.
To many, this court order may seem difficult. But there is no alternative to strict orders to stop the horrific irregularities, corruption and chaos in the healthcare system and to ensure the healthcare of the patients. Whether the High Court order will take effect depends on the executive branch. Improving the quality of healthcare is not impossible with the commitment of those who run the hospitals and clinics.
We hope that emergency healthcare department swill be operational in all public and private hospitals in compliance with the orders of the High Court and will provide services to the patients as much as possible. It must be remembered that human life depends on these services. It is not unjustified to expect a little more humanity and kindness from these institutions.
Many countries around the world have healthcare regulatory commissions, where medical service seekers can lodge complaints. Our country also has separate commissions to look after the interests of service seekers in different sectors including energy and insurance. So what is the problem in establishing a commission in one of the most important service sectors like the healthcare sector?