A crackdown by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) against illegal nursing homes and hospitals in Kandivali revealed that 12 out of 13 establishments are operating without a license. Interestingly, the only registered care home’s license was not renewed for its failure to meet fire safety standards.
BMC officials said two of them have now been closed while FIRs have been registered against 10 nursing homes, which are still open, and the medical staff employed there.
“These facilities have been operating mainly from slums for about two years. They operate as clinics or day care centers with 5-10 beds and 15 staff each and cater to poor patients,” said a neighborhood doctor R South.
Madina Hospital on Wadilal Gosaliya Road in Sanjay Nagar has closed the hospital but operates as a polyclinic. Jeevan Hospital in the Thakur Complex has also closed its nursing home operations. Currently it operates as a day care center on behalf of Life Care and does not admit patients.
The BMC, however, did not renew the license of Sanchaiti Hospital (P) Limited on Akurli Road as it had not obtained a no objection certificate from the fire department.
Sandhya Nandedkar, Assistant Commissioner, R South ward, told HT: “We have filed FIRs against 10 illegally operating care homes in Kandivali. We have already closed two hospitals and our goal is to close five more. We used to put up signs warning people not to visit these illegal hospitals, but they took down the signs.
As per the Bombay Nursing Homes Registration Act 1949, it is compulsory for a doctor who runs a nursing home to register with the civic body. However, most nursing homes operate from rented premises. Building owners prevent them from changing user status, stairs and elevator, and getting separate parking area and water connection. As a result, nursing homes do not obtain licenses from the BMC Medical Adviser.
“There are care homes that don’t get licenses and under the rules we can file an inspection report but can’t seal them. We can move the court to prosecute them and then impose a huge sentence. The first-time offender can be fined ₹20,000. We are used to receiving a lot of complaints from citizens. In some cases, licenses are not renewed and yet they work. Patients should know before being admitted to these nursing homes if they have the required permits,” Nandedkar said.
Harsh Pandey, a resident of Kandivali, said: “The illegalities of nursing homes on such a large scale are mainly due to poor public health care where patients cannot afford private care.”