Over 20,000 doctors of private hospitals, nursing homes and diagnostics centres have gone on indefinite strike in Bengaluru to protest against the proposed amendments in the Karnataka Private Medical Establishment Bill 2007.
Hundreds of private doctors gathered at Indian Medical Association (IMA) at Bengaluru campus and protested against Karnataka government's proposed bill.
Speaking to News Nation, Dr. Devi Shetty, Chairman Narayana Health City said "Our prestige and honour is at stake, already we have six grievance cells and now govt wants one more grievance cell and elected representative will be head of this. We will not be allowed to hire the lawyer, even Kasab got a lawyer but this govt doesn't allow us to hire the lawyer who can represent us in front of this grievance cell."
The Karnataka government has proposed amendments in KPME Bill 2007 to regulate the private hospitals. The bill proposes regulation of costs in private hospitals and setting up of a grievance redressal committee to look into the complaints against private hospitals.
While emergency services remained open in all private Medical establishments, people with minor problems had to suffer due to the strike. 40-year-old Manjula had to return back from the private hospital without treatment since OPD was closed. "I didn't know about the strike, I had shoulder pain and wanted to consult doctor but OPD was closed, I am going back now, have no other option but to wait till strike is over," Manjula said.
More than 20 associations of private doctors are supporting this strike and doctors have said strike will not be called off till Karnataka government withdraws this bill. Dr. Sudarshan Balal, Chairman Manipal Group of Hospitals said, "We want assurance from govt that bill will be withdrawn till then we will continue our protest. This is a do-and-die situation for doctors."
On the other side, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddharamaiah requested private doctors to call off the strike since dialogue between doctors and government is still on and the CM assured them that bill will be tabled only after the consent of doctors. Siddharamaiah said, "I met doctors, I told them bill has not been tabled yet in the assembly and will table only after taking consent from the doctors, but they are still protesting which is not right."
Meanwhile, Karnataka High Court while hearing the PIL regarding the strike has adjourned the hearing for tomorrow and requested the doctors to withdraw the strike.