Panel submits report on KPMEA bill, ignores most demands of doctors

Panel submits report on KPMEA bill, ignores most demands of doctors

At a time when private doctors are up in arms against the government over the controversial private medical establishment bill, a joint select committee of the legislature constituted to look into various aspects of the bill,  on Tuesday, chose to ignore most of the demands.

The panel, which submitted its report in both Houses of the legislature, has not dealt with the contentious provision of imprisonment of doctors in the event of medical negligence, which the medical fraternity has been vehemently opposing. The 18-member panel is headed by senior Congress MLA K N Rajanna. Health Minister K R Ramesh Kumar is one of its members.

The committee was set up after private doctors and associations of medical establishments and nursing homes protested against various provisions of the Karnataka Private Medical Establishments (Amendment) (KPME) Bill, 2017, including jail term for doctors. The government had assured the protesting doctors that it will modify the bill as per the recommendations of the panel.

The doctors had warned the government that they will resort to complete shutdown of all medical services if their demands are not fulfilled. Members of the panel who belong to the principal Opposition BJP have submitted a dissent note, saying they do not endorse the recommendations of the panel.

Another important demand of the doctors is for doing away with district and metropolitan grievance redress committees as bodies such as the Medical Council of India, consumer court, civil court are already discharging the same function. This demand has also not been touched by the panel.

The panel has recommended retaining most of the provisions of the original bill.  But it remains to be seen whether the recommendations of the panel will be incorporated when the government comes out with the final version of the bill.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, on Tuesday, again urged a delegation led by Indian Medical Association state president Dr H N Ravindra to drop their agitation and promised that he will hold one more round of consultations before finalising the bill. It is learnt that Siddaramaiah is under pressure from a section of Congress legislators to dilute the bill as demanded by the doctors.

Minister defends bill

Ramesh Kumar, who turned emotional defending the bill in the Upper House, said he was ready to retire from public life if poor people believe that the bill will only bring them misery.  

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