Karnataka: Private doctors withdraw strike, protests to continue in Belagavi

More than 22,000 doctors in Bengaluru alone, were protesting against the amendments to the Karnataka Private Medical Establishments Act, 2007 that prescribes fixed prices for the treatments and also holds them accountable in case of medical negligence.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: November 16, 2017 8:47:26 pm
Doctors protest Bengaluru : Doctors holding a protest during an indefinite strike against KPME(A) ACT 2017 (Karnataka Private Medical Establishment (Amendment) bill) in Bengaluru on Thursday. (PTI)

After a total shutdown by the private doctors in Karnataka left the state in a health crisis on Thursday, the Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association withdrew their protest in the evening. The stir will, however, continue in Belagavi, reports ANI.

More than 22,000 doctors in Bengaluru alone, were protesting against the amendments to the Karnataka Private Medical Establishments Act, 2017 that prescribes fixed prices for the treatments and also holds them accountable in case of medical negligence. The proposed amendments were based on recommendations of former Supreme Court judge Vikramajit Sen. Calling the act “draconian” and “detrimental” to the medical profession, the doctors alleged that the state government was implementing the Sen committee report selectively.

While only out-patient services were to be stalled, reports suggest that hospitals also refused to take up emergency cases. A 24-year-old passed away at a private hospital in Dharwad district allegedly due to delay in getting treatment. In other reports of casualties, students of a school at Ramanagar, who were injured in an accidental collision between their van and a government bus, reportedly faced difficulties as a private hospital purportedly refused treatment and referred them to Bengaluru, news agency PTI reported.

Read | Why are doctors in Karnataka up in arms against the state government?

Looking at the crippling health system in the state, Chief Minister K Siddaramaiah held a meeting with the state Health Minister Ramesh Kumar. Responding to the opposition BJP which raked the issue in Assembly, Ramesh Kumar said the government was ready to talk about the bill and that they could try to find a solution to the issue. BJP meanwhile, accused Kumar of taking it as a “prestige issue”, instead of amicably resolving the problem. The party had also staged a walk-out demanding immediate solution even as they claimed that the delay may cause more deaths of patients.

Earlier in the day, the Karnataka High Court had also asked the doctors to withdraw their strike immediately. The division bench comprising acting Chief Justice H G Ramesh and Justice P S Dinesh Kumar observed that the doctors should call off their protest as the government has an “open mind on the issue”, and asked them to participate in the talks convened by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah. The bench also added that there was no strong case for the doctors to protest as the KPME amendment bill has not yet been tabled in the Assembly.

Private Hospitals And Nursing Homes Association (PHANA) president C Jayanna had rejected that the doctors were holding the state to ransom. PHANA secretary R Raveendra alleged that state Health Minister Ramesh Kumar was adamant on passing the proposed amendments.

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