Is new Consumer Protection Bill good or bad?
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The ongoing winter session of Lok Sabha is turning out to be quite tense for doctors’ fraternity across the country. It could well become a landmark of sorts, at least for healthcare sector, given the kind of legislations the House is expected to pass.

Among the many Bills that have been given green signal during this Lok Sabha session, the Consumer Protection Bill of 2018 is turning out to be the most contentious one. Due to the aggressive opposition, the Bill has the potential to bring the government and doctors to a flashpoint.

What is Consumer Protection Bill of 2018?

What actually is there in the Consumer Protection Bill that has riled-up the doctor community? To understand the latest Bill, one must understand the earlier versions of it. The Consumer Protection Act 1986 did not include medical profession under its provision and for a long time, there was no ‘affordable’ mechanism for dispute redressal for patients and their attenders who did not have the financial muscle, resources and time to approach a court of law.

Then in 1994, the Supreme Court brought medical profession under the ambit of the Consumer Protection Act 1986. With this, patients and their relatives started approaching District Forum, State Commission and National Commission for Consumer Disputes Redressal with their complaints on healthcare professionals and institutions.

The Consumer Protection Bill 2018 has clauses that will make it possible for District Consumer Forums to entertain complaints where the value of goods or services and the compensation claimed is up to Rs 1 crore from existing Rs 20 lakh.

The State Commission for Consumer Redressal, which until now dealt with compensation complaints of up to Rs 20 lakh, has been enhanced to Rs 10 crore. The jurisdiction for National Commission has been enhanced to over Rs 10 crore from existing Rs 1 crore, triggering a massive opposition from the medical fraternity.

In addition to all this, the Bill proposes that there is no need of judicial members in the District, State and National Consumer Commissions. It also allows associations and other bodies, apart from individuals, to lodge their complaints and proposes to set up consumer mediation cells at district, State and national level.

While senior consumer rights activists have hailed the Bill as the best thing to have happened to protect the rights of consumers, individual doctors and bodies representing them fear an increase in the cost of treatment, which ultimately will fall on patients and their relatives.

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D●●●●●●f j●e and 3 others like this4 shares
Dr. S●●●●●v S●●●●●1
Dr. S●●●●●v S●●●●●1 Obstetrics and Gynaecology
The most pathetic state of affairs. Now there' s no place of old good days where the treatment was being done for the absolute wellbeing of our patients including financial aspect. But today we have to keep all evidences and indulge in a defensive practice. The law makers cannot realise the sensitive issues and while at present the patient/ doctor ratio is at a critically low level such amendments would further deteriorate the patient doctor relation which is never good. I am fully aware that our say has no bearing in the thinking processe of the law makers and whatever is being drafted will definitely be implemented. In criminal offences Indian laws allow very meagre financial punishments. I cannot make out why the society is bent upon to treat Indian doctors worse than the hard-core criminals and I am sure it' ll have it' s long-term implications which will never be good foranybody.... Read more
Jan 7, 2019Like6
D●●●●●●f j●e
D●●●●●●f j●e Physiotherapy
Jan 8, 2019Like