Where can I file a complaint against a hospital?

In India, if you have grievances against a hospital, you can approach these authorities for redressal. Here is a structured approach to filing a complaint:

Grounds for complaint

Before initiating any action, identify the basis of your complaint. Common issues include:

  1. Medical Negligence: This contains substandard care, misdiagnosis, incorrect treatment, or surgical errors resulting in harm.
  2. Deficiency in Service: This could pertain to delays in treatment, unhygienic conditions, inadequate facilities, or inappropriate staff conduct.
  3. Financial Irregularities: For disputes regarding overcharging for services or engaging in fraudulent billing practices.
  4. Denial of Treatment: Hospitals are legally obligated to provide emergency treatment, regardless of the patient’s financial capacity.
  5. Violation of Patient Rights: Matters relate to breaches of confidentiality, failure to obtain informed consent, or discriminatory practices.

Steps to File a Complaint

Step 1. Documentation:

Compile all pertinent documents such as medical records, bills, prescriptions, discharge summaries, and any correspondence with the hospital. A second medical opinion can substantiate claims of negligence.

Step 2. Internal Grievance Redressal:

As a preliminary step, submit a formal written complaint to the hospital’s administration (Medical Superintendent or Director), retaining a copy for your records.

Step 3. Escalation to Regulatory Bodies:

If the hospital fails to adequately address your complaint, you may escalate the matter to the following authorities:

  • District CMO: Lodge a public grievance against the hospital to the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of your district or state public health department through the “Integrated Public Grievance Portal” of your state.

  • State Medical Council: This body can initiate disciplinary proceedings against doctors found guilty of negligence or misconduct. You may complain through the official websites of respective SMCs.

  • Authorities under the Clinical Establishments Act: These bodies regulate hospitals and have the power to investigate complaints.

  • Consumer Forums: If the hospital’s actions constitute a deficiency in service or unfair trade practices, you can lodge a complaint with the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) or the appropriate State Consumer Forum through E-DAAKHIL portal under the Consumer Protection Act.

In case of public interest, you may also lodge complaints against the hospital to the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) of the central government.

:person_tipping_hand:t6: Tips: For an informal consumer complaint against the hospital, lodge your complaint to National Consumer Helpline (NCH).

Legal Action:

In cases of severe injury or death due to medical negligence, you may seek compensation by filing a lawsuit in a civil court. In extreme cases involving gross negligence or deliberate harm, a police complaint or FIR can be filed, potentially leading to criminal charges.

:tipping_hand_man:t5: Notes:

  • Time Limits: Adhere to the prescribed time limits for filing complaints with different authorities.
  • Legal Counsel: Engaging legal counsel is advisable, especially in complex cases involving medical negligence or legal disputes.
  • Mediation: Explore mediation as a viable alternative for dispute resolution, if both parties are amenable to a negotiated settlement.

You can use your rights and these available legal mechanisms to file a complaint against a hospital, ensuring accountability and expect an appropriate redressal.

Still, have questions? :thinking: Ask by replying below. :point_down:t5: We will help you to resolve it.