Karnataka: OPDs to be hit across state on Nov 8

Medical students on protest at Minto Ophthalmic Hospital in Bengaluru on Thursday. DH Photo/S K Dinesh

Outpatient departments at private hospitals across Karnataka will remain shut and elective surgeries could be postponed in the wake of a statewide protest called by the Indian Medical Association (IMA).

The doctors’ body has asked hospitals to stop services on Friday in solidarity with the postgraduate students of the Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute who are agitating against an alleged assault by pro-Kannada activists at Minto Ophthalmic Hospital.

Medical services will be hit between 6 am on Friday and 6 am on Saturday, according to the IMA.

Dr Srinivasa S, state secretary, IMA, said, “There are 25,000 private hospitals in the state. Of these, 5,000 are in Bengaluru. We have called upon all of them to go on a strike.”

He also said they were unsure whether government hospitals would participate in the protest.

“About 80% of healthcare in the state is provided by us. Our hospitals will suspend services,” he said.

The Private Hospitals and Nursing Home Association (PHANA) has agreed to participate in the protest. A memo signed by Dr Govindaiah Yatheesh, honorary secretary, PHANA, said, “Junior doctors have to be appreciated for their bravery in fighting harassment. All emergency services, inpatient and labour room services will remain unaffected.”

The Karnataka State Government Medical Officers Association (KGMOA) has asked employees of all government hospitals to participate in a symbolic protest and not let services be hit. Dr G A Srinivas, president, KGMOA, however said they condemned the attack on doctors.

Pankaj Kumar Pandey, commissioner, department of health and family welfare, has directed that all government hospitals continue to function as usual and that no services be withdrawn. He also said no leave must be granted to any medical or paramedical staff on Friday.

PG students of Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute have been protesting against Karnataka Rakshana Vedike after an altercation with one of the students on duty at Minto eye hospital. The argument was over her refusal to talk in Kannada when questioned on compensation for those who lost sight after surgery.

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