By Tordue Salem, Abuja
A law to commit medical doctors to jail sentences, for unethical practices, is underway in the House of Representatives.
The piece of legislation, which is expected to be considered for passage this week, seeks to punish unethical referrals of patients by doctors to their colleagues in other hospitals, for material gains and without details of the patients’ conditions, as professionally required.
The legislative tool, obtained exclusively by VANGUARD, is entitled “National Health Act, 2014(Amendment) Bill, 2020”, and sponsored by Rep. Enitan Dolapo-Badru.
The proposed new subsections in the Principal Act, namely sections 17(3), 17(4), 17(5), state that “when a patient is referred to another doctor for treatment and same doctor, takes over the continuing care of the patient so referred, shall be guilty of an office and liable on conviction to find not less than N500,000.00 or imprisonment, not less than 6 months.
“Referral to another medical practitioner must be done in a conscientious, professional and ethical manner, without any form of personal interest, gains, enticement and benefit”.
The proposed law, also warns against the unethical prescription of drugs for patients at medical facilities.
The bill states that “Any drug(s) prescribed to any patient by a medical personnel, shall include: “a detailed information on the drug(s), nature of the drug, the health condition/history of the patient, outline of possible side effects/reactions if any, by the drug; and the full details of the medical personnel who prescribed the drugs, the above must be in clear readable fonts”.
The Bill also warns that: “A medical practice if guilty of subsection (3), shall be liable on conviction for a fine not less than N500,000 or imprisonment, not more than two years or to both such fine and imprisonment”.