The Karnataka government stared at a crisis on Thursday after 20,000 doctors launched an indefinite strike against some provisions of the Private Medical Establishments (Amendment) Bill. They demanded that the Siddaramaiah government drop at least four contentious proposals in the bill. The doctors joined colleagues from at least 14 other districts who were already protesting against the Bill.
As the Siddaramaia government in Karnataka is planning to put a cap on medical professionals and doctors, the government’s decision has created a flutter amongst the fraternity. Shocked by the government’s proposal, the Indian Medical Asossication (IMA) had written a letter to Karnataka CM Siddaramaia strongly opposing the government’s move to regulate doctors.
In a step to make healthcare affordable, the Karnataka government decided to fix the rates for different types of treatments and bed charges in private hospitals and nursing homes. The bill, Karnataka Private Medical Establishments (Amendment) Bill 2017, which has been placed on the floor in the house, empowers the state government to fix rates, and also talks about imprisonment or penalty in case of violation of the rule.
Dr Rajshekhar Bellary, former president, IMA Karnataka said, “Almost 20,000 doctors participated in the strike. It is anti-people and anti-doctor amendments. It is detrimental to the health of the people of Karnataka. Our demands are that government should not fix the price. If the fixation rate exceeds there is 5 lakhs fine and 5 years imprisonment which is not good, which is an unnecessary problem for the doctors. Government should sympathetically consider our demands. If government agrees to our demands, we will pull off the strike.”
Highlights of the IMA’s letter to Karnataka CM Siddaramaia:
There is no law in the world that allows anyone to complain and punish a doctor for merely asking questions to the patient
The professional conduct of the medical professionals are governed by the medical councils and no other authority can adjudicate on these matters
the attempt to regulate charges of medical professionals is unconstitutional
Government has failed to improve its own hospital and the private healthcare establishment has shouldered the responsibility with its own investments and expenses. It is unfortunate that the government, instead of providing a favourable and secure environment for the doctors, is trying to create severe hurdles even for our day to day works
Creating new regulatory authorities under the alibi that the medical councils, consumer forum, civil and criminal courts are ineffective is not only an affront to these institutions, but also a dangerous phenomenon