Private doctors' strike hits out-patient care in Karnataka

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah. DH file

The strike will continue till their demands are met, said a senior Indian Medical Association (IMA) official.

Meanwhile, the doctors are still adamant about their demand and have continued their strike leaving hundreds of patients at their risk.

While the Chief Minister is ready to make changes to the Karnataka Private Medical Establishment (KPME) Act, Health Minister K R Ramesh Kumar opposed it on Tuesday.

The private hospitals had very few doctors on duty to look after in-patients and for emergency services.

Private medical doctors have been vehemently protesting the bill, demanding that some of its contentions provisions like jail term for medical negligence, capping of fee for medical services and setting of redressal committee, should be diluted.

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According to Suvarna News, the State government seems to have bowed to the protesting doctors' pressure as the panel suggested to do away with the clause of imprisonment of doctors - as reported earlier - from the bill.

The out-patient departments in private hospitals, which were shut on Monday across the state, will however resume services from Tuesday. The "Belagavi Chalo" protest comes on a day when the government is likely to pass the bill as the Winter Session begins.

Dr Ravindra, IMA Karnataka President, had threatened to go on fast unto death if the government passed the act. "The government is contemplating restrictions on private nursing homes which charge the poor exorbitantly".

"The Chief Minister told us the amendment bill would be tabled in the assembly on Wednesday and discussed by the lawmakers along with the report of the joint select committee set up to study the provisions".

"I have read in the media that three people have died due to the strike by doctors of private hospitals". They fear that the BJP and JD (S) might use it to corner the government when the bill is taken up for discussion as the two parties have already extended support to agitating doctors.

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