Mixed response from citizens' groups to passing of KPME Bill

Citizens' health groups in the city have given a mixed response to the modified Karnataka Private Medical Establishments (KPME) Bill.

The groups, under the banner of Karnataka Janarogya Chaluvali, a citizen's forum based in Bengaluru, said "though the KPME Bill included some pro-patient provisions, the private medical establishments had held the government to ransom.'' The Bill was passed in the Assembly on Wednesday.

They said a closed-door meeting between the government and doctors' representatives of private medical associations was undemocratic.

Akhila Vasan, founder of Karnataka Janarogya Chaluvali, said the pro-patient provisions in the Bill such as patients' charter, responsibilities of private medical institutions, right to prior and informed consent, right to information about the treatment and right to second opinion were crucial. She, however, pointed out the lack of a state-level authority that oversees the implementation of the Act.

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