State government will carry out surprise inspections of health facilities to check compliance to standard operating procedures, recently framed to streamline referrals and ensure better patient care. An official in health and medical education department said that an order has been issued by the department to scrutinize health facilities, both peripheral and tertiary care, to check whether the SOPs are being adhered to. The SOPs had been framed in wake of the death of a newborn, whose mother had been sent home by Lal Ded Hospital here.
The death, as per a preliminary inquiry report regarding the incident, took place due to non-adherence to SOPs by the doctor on duty. Government had issued the SoP order on 8 February and warned that "any violation in implementation of SOP shall be viewed seriously and disciplinary action, as per the rules, shall be initiated against the defaulters". The order had mandated that a patient being referred in an ambulance shall be accompanied by a medical attendant or ASHA worker "well-versed" with resuscitation drill. The patient, upon reaching the tertiary-care hospital, needs to be "handed-over" to the doctor on duty "under proper receipt indicating date and time of handing over the patient".
After being received by doctor-on-duty, the registrar on duty needs to be informed about the patient, the latter taking on the management of the patient from there-on "within shortest period of time". In order to create accountability regarding treatment of referred patients, the order has obligated that the patient can be discharged from tertiary-care hospital "only by or with approval of the on-duty registrar or consultant".
Government had ordered a monthly audit of all referral cases at all levels of healthcare system in the State. Report of these audits, the order states, will be submitted to administrative department of the Government.