Medical bill tabled in Karnataka Assembly, jail clause removed after doctors’ strike
At least seven patients have died because they did not receive treatment as a result of doctors’ protests against the bill.
After a series of protests from doctors, the state government tabled a modified, watered-down Karnataka Private Medical Establishments (Amendment) Bill, 2017, in the Assembly on Tuesday, The Hindu reported.
Doctors have been protesting since early November against the bill. Last week, around 22,000 doctors of private medical establishments in Bengaluru joined the indefinite strike, demanding that at least four of the 14 proposals in the bill be dropped. At least seven patients died because they did not receive treatment as a result of the strike.
The amendment bill does not include the clause on imprisoning doctors on charges of negligence, harassment of patients and for handing out inflated bills. But it does include a clause on penalty and cancellation of registration in cases of non-compliance with the Patients’ Charter and Private Medical Establishment’s Charter in the schedule act.
The patients’ charter talks about the right of the patient to receive care irrespective of caste, social status, and gender. It emphasises the importance of informed consent with patients being given complete information including about costs procedures, risks and benefits before the treatment is started.
The bill proposes to regulate the cost of medical procedures under its health insurance schemes and says that hospitals must hand over bodies of deceased patients to the next of kin without insisting on payment of dues. It also includes the creation of Registration and Grievance Redressal Authority in each district that can look into complaints, especially about violations of patients’ rights.