Private doctors rally against stringent government control



Bengaluru witnesses huge turnout; they demand withdrawal of ‘draconian’ amendments to KPME Act

Private doctors from nearly 6,000 hospitals across the State took out a massive rally in Bengaluru on Friday demanding withdrawal of amendments to the Karnataka Private Medical Establishments (KPME) Act, 2007, under which the government is to fix rates for various procedures in private hospitals and penalise those flouting rules.

The legislation tabled in the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday has kept government hospitals out of the purview of the legislation, setting aside the recommendations of Justice Vikramajit Sen committee. The committee, appointed in July 2016 to draft amendments to regulate the healthcare system in the State, had said that there cannot be two sets of rules for private and government hospitals.

The doctors, under the banner of the Joint Action Committee-Karnataka, demanded “mature deliberations” on the amendments before the Bill is passed in the legislature. The doctors pointed out the “practical challenges” hospitals will face after the new rules come into force.

Former Lokayukta Santosh N. Hegde, who expressed solidarity with the doctors, termed the amendments as irrational. “When I was part of the judiciary system in various capacities and roles, I have myself seen the pathetic state of affairs at government hospitals. The government must first look to address this,” he said.

Indian Medical Association (IMA) president Rajshekhar Bellary called the amendments “draconian” and said the move is not in sync with the prevailing standards or norms relating to healthcare globally.

Nagendra Swamy, coordinator, Federation of Healthcare Associations-Karnataka, termed the amendments shocking. “It is appalling to see that the government is playing the role of a facilitator sans the involvement of government hospitals. How can they keep government hospitals out of the purview of these amendments? ” he said.

  1. Jayanna, coordinator of the Joint Action Committee, said that medical treatment is not a food menu that can be offered in a platter at a fixed price.

“The condition of a patient can improve or deteriorate any time and treatment costs will also vary accordingly. This is practically not possible,” the doctor said.

“Over 70% of healthcare is being delivered by the private sector in the State. Most of the hospitals cater to all sections of society as we have tied up with the government’s insurance schemes. The government should first improve the condition of its own hospitals,” said H.N. Ravindra, president-elect, IMA. The doctors have threatened to intensify their protest if the government fails to consider their demands.

The Joint Action Committee includes representatives of IMA, FHA-K, Karnataka Private Medical Establishments Association , Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association, Association of Healthcare Providers – India, and 25 other organisations.

Courtesy: The Hindu


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