What are the basic approvals required for setting up a multispecialty hospital in India?

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multispecialty hospital

Whether you’re a potential hospital owner or operator trying to wrap your head around licensing, or you’re a potential patron of a multi-specialty hospital looking to identify whether it is safe and legitimate, we’ve got the lowdown on what approvals, licences and permits a multi-specialty needs to have before setting up a facility.

Starting a hospital is no mean feat. Earning the trust of the patients these days is also not easy. It is a good idea to understand what makes a hospital legit. So what is it that makes hospitals, specifically multi-specialty hospitals, patient-friendly and legitimate?

Almost 50 different permits and licences are required by the government before the hospital can start operating. In fact, most of these licenses have to be obtained for the hospital to start operating. Hospitals also have many compulsory adherences that they cannot waver from during the course of their operation.

While we might not be able to name and detail each and every permit, license and rule applicable to setting up and running multi-specialty hospitals, let us get a bird’s eye view on what the requirements are.

There are a ton of rules related to the construction of the hospital; before lying a single brick, a barrage of permits need to be obtained. For example, the government stipulates that hospitals need a minimum water supply of 100 liters per day (although the requirement is a lot more than that in practice), and other basic necessities like electricity, which calls for municipal authority’s permission. Hospitals – multi-specialty hospitals or otherwise – also need to have incinerators or municipality tie-ups for getting rid of their biomedical waste.

Approvals and NOCs from the fire department upon construction and health certificates issued by a local authority after installation of beds and equipment must also be procured and displayed.

Additionally, patrons of the hospital may keep a look-out for the following signage that any hospital must compulsorily display for the benefit of patients:

  1. Certificate of registration
  2. IMC/SMC registration certificate
  3. Clinic operation timings and closure days

Doctors’ backgrounds and registration numbers need to be checked. A license under the Indian Nursing Council Act 1947 is also compulsory. In any case, no hospital wants to land itself in a malpractice suit somewhere down the line because of lacking background checks on its doctors and nurses.

Basics like licenses under the Fatal Accidents Act, the Right to Information Act and the Environment Protection act are required by hospitals across the board.

In fact, all of this is true for hospitals of all denominations and categories. Even cosmetic surgery hospitals and brands such as Dr. Batra’s hair transplant are required to have all this documentation in place.

Thereafter, for every service offered by the hospital, and indeed for all the equipment that it uses, licenses need to be obtained. Multi-specialty hospitals need to figure out in advance what types of services and procedures they will offer. Correspondingly, they can go ahead and procure the licenses required to extend these services and procedures to their patients.

For example, multi-specialty hospitals will definitely need a Licence under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940. If they are correcting people’s smiles, they will also need a Licence under Dentist Regulations, 1976.

If there is a Radiology department, atomic energy regulatory approvals are required. The licenses required will multiply based on the range of services and procedures that the multi-specialty hospital plans to offer. As a result, it is absolutely imperative for the hospital’s owners or management to have complete clarity on their product-offering.

Moreover, before adding on a service once the operation begins most multi-specialty hospital operators will double-check if it requires any additional permits or licenses. Most clinics and hospitals, definitely the kind involved in nose correction, painful skin correction or anatomy correction, use local anesthesia in at least some procedures.

This requires a license under the Narcotics and Psychotropic substances Act 1985.  Even the less invasive cosmetic kind of clinics like Dr. Batra’s hair transplant clinics might also require such a license.

Should the hospital be involved in any sort of organ transplant as part of its services, it needs a license under the Transplantation of Human Organs Act, 1994. If the hospital operates a kitchen for its patients, then it needs several additional licenses.

Hospitals need to ensure that they adhere to all government and municipal requirements related to safe and legitimate functioning. Patients too – with information readily available at a click – need to be aware, alert and diligent with regards to patronizing hospitals that are doing things right.

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