Public hospitals: Doctors can run private practice in workplace
The government will arrange chambers for public hospital physicians to serve patients after office hours on their workplace premises from March 1, Health Minister Zahid Maleque said yesterday.
In that case, the physicians will be allowed to take fixed charges from the patients, the minister said at a press conference after a meeting on "institutional practice" at the Secretariat.
"Physicians will be able to provide services to patients at the chambers in their workplaces like they do at their private chambers in clinics or pharmacies."
After the health ministry took opinions from leading physicians and other stakeholders, the minister said a high level committee will be formed soon in this regard.
Maleque made the announcement as the government struggles to rein in private practices of the physicians.
To tackle the issue, the government had earlier formed a committee, headed by the Prof Md Sharfuddin Ahmed, vice chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University.
The committee submitted a set of recommendations at yesterday's meeting, where leaders of Bangladesh Medical Association were also present, sources said.
Speaking to The Daily Star about yesterday's meeting, Sharfuddin said, "We have told the government that stopping private practices will not be possible. But the health infrastructure can be used for institutional practices."
Under the institutional practice system, doctors of the public hospitals will be available to serve patients at the outdoor facilities until 6:00pm by rotation. It, however, will not be mandatory for them.
Besides, the laboratory service units will also remain open during that period, the recommendations said.
Patients will have to pay a fixed amount for taking services from the physicians, a portion of which will be given to the staffers working beyond regular hours. Any remaining amount will be deposited to the hospital's revenue account.
Sharfuddin said, "We have asked the government to start piloting before introducing it countrywide."
The meeting also decided that a six-member high-level committee will fix a standard operating protocol in this regard.
The secretaries of the health services division, and the medical education and family welfare division of the health ministry, along with the director general of the health directorate, among others, were included in the committee as members.
Md Ehteshamul Huq Choudhury, secretary general of Bangladesh Medical Association, said, "We cordially welcome the government move. It will ensure efficient use of the resources at public hospitals. Many physicians will also benefit from it."