Most Chitwan health facilities flouting government guidelines

Chitwan, June 10

Although a new hospital must be set up at least a kilometre away from another hospital of the same standard as per the Guidelines for Health Institutions Established Upgrade Standard 2070, as many as 22 private hospitals are running within a short distance from the Bharatpur Hospital in Chitwan.

Besides the provision for distance, many hospitals have been flouting several other criteria.

Chief of the District Public Health Office, Chitwan Madusudan Koirala said the office renews licenses of hospitals with up to 25-bed capacity.

“As our jurisdiction is limited to only 25-bed capacity hospitals, we are unaware of the license renewal status of other hospitals beyond that capacity,” he remarked.

Chitwan has six 25-bed capacity hospitals, and 16 government and private hospitals, and a medical college exceeding the capacity.

As per the guideline, District Public Health Office, Regional Health Directorate, Health Department, and the Ministry of Health issue and renew operating licenses of hospitals with 25, 26-50, 51-200, and 201 plus bed capacities respectively.

Regarding the status of license of hospitals, DPHO officer Ishwori Pokharel said two of the six 25-bed capacity hospitals have yet to get their service license renewed.

Similarly, regarding the 25-plus bed capacity hospitals, as many as 12 have yet to get their operating license renewed from the concerned authorities.

Narayansingh Kunwar, chairperson of Private Hospitals Coordination Committee, Chitwan acknowledged that there were many criterion-related problems resulting in the delay of license renewal of hospitals.

“We do recognise the difficulty but problem has surfaced due to the lack of implementation of an agreement with the ministry last year,” he said, adding that the agreement had allowed hospitals to meet the criteria gradually.

The guideline further states that the hospital must own sufficiently large area of land and the site must be free from all sorts of pollution. If the hospital does not own enough land, a 25-bed capacity hospital must have a land leasing agreement for 15 years before developing infrastructures, and coming into operation.

The structures built must also be quake-resistant and in line with the building code.

The guideline further states that 25-bed capacity hospitals seeking to upgrade, and 50-plus bed capacity hospitals must own their own buildings.

There are many other criteria that most of the hospitals operating from poorly equipped rented facilities built for residential purpose cannot fulfil.