The out-patient departments of private hospitals across Karnataka will be shut on Friday, in protest against the Karnataka Private Medical Establishments (Amendment) Bill, 2017.
Doctors are opposing the bill saying it will give the government more power to regulate fees and cost of treatment at private hospitals. The bill also proposes setting up a district-level grievance committee that can take action against erring hospitals, The Hindu reported.
The amended Bill will be presented in the upcoming Winter Session in Belagavi.
The Indian Medical Association had called for the one-day strike, which is now being supported by several private doctors’ associations, The Times of India reported. The doctors associations, however, said emergency and ambulance services will not be affected, and the patients already admitted in hospitals will continue to be treated.
“This is a warning to the government,” The Hindu quoted HN Ravindra, president-elect of the Indian Medical Association, as saying. Ravindra added that doctors will protest again on November 10 if their concerns are not addressed.
Private doctors’ associations said their main demand was that the bill apply to government hospitals, too, and that the state government consider recommendations made by a committee headed by former Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court Vikramajit Sen, according to The Times of India.
“Justice Sen said there cannot be two sets of rules for private and government hospitals, and the act must cover government hospitals, as well,” the newspaper quoted Dr Rajshekar S Bellary, president of the Indian Medical Association’s Karnataka branch, as saying.