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Policy Matters

A call for quality

Bengaluru (TH): All hospitals providing alternative system of medicine will now have to undergo quality assessment before seeking empanelment with the Central Government Health Services (CGHS).

This has been done to ensure the quality of treatment and infrastructure in the hospitals specialising in AYUSH (ayurveda, yoga, unani, siddha and homoeopathy) forms of treatment. The CGHS and the Quality Council of India (QCI) have signed a memorandum of understanding for assessment of AYUSH hospitals. The main purpose of the MoU is to put in place a mechanism for third party evaluation of AYUSH Hospitals and carry out assessment for CGHS empanelment.

As per the agreement, the Quality Council of India (National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers or NABH) will develop the criterion for AYUSH Hospitals, on the basis of which they would be evaluated and assessed by QCI. The QCI will submit its report within 30 days from the receipt of the application to CGHS. Any AYUSH Hospital spread all across the country will be empanelled by CGHS subject to evaluation and recommendation of the Council.

At present there are 2400 ayurveda hospitals and 1500 hospitals of unani, siddha, and homeopathy in India under AYUSH category. In 2006-07 also the Government had chosen NABH accreditation as a pre-condition for empanelment of hospitals, under CGHS scheme, providing a big boost to quality in healthcare. Quality in healthcare is of paramount importance as it directly impacts human lives.

In India, especially, the healthcare sector has to cater to both the domestic and international population, hence ensuring quality in healthcare services becomes a mandate and receiving an accreditation is the only answer. It is the single most effective approach for improving the current standards of the hospitals. Quality Council of India has been working closely with the Government to develop an effective and efficient framework for promoting quality in healthcare for national well being.

The Quality Council of India was set up in 1997 jointly by the government and the industry represented by the three industry associations — the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India, Confederation of Indian Industry, and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry — to establish and operate a national accreditation structure and promote quality through National Quality Campaign.

The Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion, Ministry of Commerce & Industry is the nodal ministry for QCI, according to Dr Bhawna Gulati, Assistant Director, National Accreditation Board for Hospital & Healthcare Providers, Quality Council of India.

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