The Health Facilities Regulatory Agency (HeFRA) has commenced processes to prosecute the owners of four private health institutions that were shut down by the agency last Friday for operating without licence.
The Advanced Body Sculpt Centre, also known as the Obengfo Hospital; the Susan Clinic, the China Recovery Clinic and the Grace Diagnostic Clinic – all in Accra – were closed down in an enforcement exercise by HeFRA last Friday.
The exercise formed part of efforts by the regulator to enforce The Health Institutions and Facilities Act 2011, Act 829 which empowers it to shut down any health facility that does not register with it to be licensed or does not meet standards established by the law.
The enforcement team, led by the Registrar of HeFRA, Dr Philip Bannor, visited the facilities unannounced and moved to close them down after they had failed to produce their operating licences.
In last Friday’s exercise, the Chief Executive Officer of the Obenfo Hospital, Dr Dominic Obeng-Andoh, and a staff member of the Grace Diagnostic Clinic were dragged to the Greater Accra Regional Police headquarters for further questioning.
Giving an update on the matter in an interview with the Daily Graphic last Monday, Dr Bannor said HeFRA’s legal team had commenced processes to haul the owners of the four affected institutions before court.
“All the facilities remain closed. The cases are still active. This afternoon, we will go to the police station to finish up with the charges so the police can begin prosecuting them,” he said.
He revealed that if found guilty by the court, each of the charges to be levelled against the institutions may attract “up to 5,000 penalty units or 10 years imprisonment or both,” as prescribed by the law.
“Should any of the health institutions go behind us to cut the locks to their premises, that will be a new offence and the penalties will escalate,” he added.
The HeFRA operates under the Ministry of Health and is the body mandated by the Health Institutions and Facilities Act, 2011 (Act 829) to register, license and regulate all public and private health facilities in the country.
Per the law, a person shall not operate a health facility unless it is licensed under the act.
Apart from assessing and issuing licences to hospitals in Ghana to operate, the HeFRA also has the power to streamline the activities of both private and public health facilities across the country to ensure that they offer health services that are of standard to the people.
Health institutions covered by the law include medical and dental clinics and hospitals, eye care clinics, convalescent and nursing homes, maternity homes, physiotherapy clinics, pharmacy and chemical shops, dental technology laboratories, diagnostic imaging technology and medical assistant clinics.