Doctors with the Indian Medical Association across Maharashtra have threatened to stop work indefinitely if their demands are not met within the next seven days. On September 15, all IMA members who are hospital owners will submit copies of their hospital registrations to the IMA branch offices at various places. These branches will appeal to the state government that they are unable to manage the hospitals with the new rates. “We will urge the state to take charge of the private hospitals,” said IMA Maharashtra president Dr Avinash Bhondwe.
The IMA is protesting against the “unaffordable rates forced by the state government” for Covid hospitals and said it is increasingly difficult to meet the expenses to run the small and medium-sized private hospitals. It has demanded that the government should run all private hospitals.
Bhondwe said at least 25,000 mid-sector hospitals are on the verge of closure. “The government had accepted the proposal to increase the rates for the ICU and give concessions in biomedical waste disposal charges and electricity bills. The government had also agreed to cap the rates of PPE kits and masks for doctors and the rates of medical oxygen used by hospitals were also to be reduced as per the central government’s regulations. This was to be finalised in a proposed meeting with IMA before September 1,” Bhondwe said.
However, IMA officials said the state unilaterally came out with new rates on August 31 and the IMA decided to start their protest at a meeting on September 4. On September 9, all the 216 IMA branches paid a tribute to doctors in Maharashtra and burnt symbolic copies of medical council registrations
IMA Maharashtra convened a meeting of 14 different medical organisations of all the pathies, including Ayurveda, homeopathy, yunani and dentistry, all the disciplines of modern medicine and specialties on September 12. These organisations have supported the agitation and decided to form a joint action committee to work together.
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