Outpatient services shut in Bengaluru from Thursday

Outpatient services shut in Bengaluru from Thursday

Outpatient services shut in Bengaluru from Thursday

A medical emergency is looming in the city with private hospitals shutting down outpatient services from Thursday.

Doctors attached to private hospitals have been on strike since Monday to protest against some provisions of the Karnataka Private Medical Establishments Bill.

Representatives of various medical establishments and the Indian Medical Association told reporters on Wednesday outpatient departments would be closed indefinitely.

Doctors said they would resume working only if the state government dropped punitive provisions of the bill, which the government plans to table in the Assembly, whose winter session is now in progress in Belagavi.

Emergency open

However, doctors said emergency, dialysis, chemotherapy and radiotherapy services would continue for outpatients.

Doctors plan a sit-in protest from Thursday at the office of the Indian Medical Association.

"Of the 14 amendments, we are only asking the government to drop four," said Dr C Jayanna, president-elect, Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association (PHANA).

The striking associations are opposing provisions that provide for capping of hospital fees, the imposition of penalties, imprisonment of doctors in case of death caused by negligence, and setting up of district grievance redressal committees.

"We have seven judicial bodies to look into malpractice in healthcare. Why one more over?" said Dr Madan Gaekwad, president, PHANA.

Litigation imminent

More than 22,000 doctors from about 600 private medical establishments will take part in the protest.

Doctors said deaths purportedly caused by the shutdown of outpatient services were being given publicity to discredit private medical establishments.

They said the patients would have approached government hospitals, where they would not have received timely treatment.

Dr Veeranna B, secretary, IMA, said the doctors were also considering legal recourse if the government failed to heed them.

Dr Devi Shetty, founder and chairman of Narayana Health, said the honour and prestige of the medical profession were at stake.

"We are not even allowed to be represented by a lawyer, according to the amendments. All this will stop attracting youngsters to the profession," he said.

No leave for govt docs

With private hospitals shutting outpatient services from Thursday in Bengaluru, the government has gone into panic mode.

It has directed all medical and para-medical staff in government hospitals to work 24/7, and without leave.

Manoj Kumar Meena, commissioner, department of health and family welfare, issued a directive on Wednesday to this effect.

Some ministers  backing strike

Many politicians run medical colleges and hospitals, and their interests came to the surface amid the strike on Wednesday.

Associates of M B Patil, water resources minister and chairman of a trust that owns and runs a medical college and hospital, were sending out invitations to the media for a press conference organised by the Private Hospitals And Nursing Homes Association.

Politicians from all major parties run medical colleges and hospitals and have been opposing the KPME Bill in its current form.

Bill not even tabled: CM

Belagavi: Chief minister Siddaramaiah on Wednesday said the doctors were protesting prematurely.  

He told reporters the contentious bill had not even been tabled in the Assembly.

"The government is yet to take a decision. Is it right on their part to continue protesting?" he said.

He said he would another round of talks with health minister K R Ramesh Kumar and the striking doctors.

"When I have told them they will be consulted, are they justified in protesting? They should withdraw the protest," he said.

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