In a move to curb growing violence on healthcare professionals by family and friends of patients, the government has proposed to make such acts a non-bailable offence. The Health Ministry is preparing to float a law for the protection of healthcare professionals. A note released by the ministry stated, "The Ministry has proposed to formulate a legislation to address the issue of violence against the healthcare service professionals and damage to property of clinical establishments. A draft legislation titled - 'The Healthcare Service Personnel and Clinical Establishments (Prohibition of violence and damage to property) Bill, 2019 has been prepared."
The draft legislation proposes to make acts of violence against doctors, nurses, midwives, medical students, ambulance drivers and helpers a non-bailable offence. The draft also seeks to provide compensation for injury of these professionals as well as compensation for loss or damage to establishments including hospitals, clinics, dispensaries, sanatoriums, ambulances or even mobile units.
The bill seeks to penalise offenders with imprisonment of between six months to three years, with a fine of between Rs 50,000 to Rs 5 lakh. If the accused is convicted of grievous harm then the imprisonment could be between three years to ten years, along with a fine between Rs 2 lakh to Rs 10 lakh. A convicted person must pay twice the fair market value amount of the damaged property or loss caused.
The draft also states that if a healthcare personnel gives a written complaint against an attack then the establishment's owner must inform the police to file an FIR.
The note also sought objections and suggestions from the public within 30 days before the bill is finalised.