Health services were partially hit in Karnataka today as several private hospitals and nursing homes did not function following protests by doctors against proposed amendments to an act governing the medical profession. The doctors are opposing the proposed amendments to the Karnataka Private Medical Establishments Act, 2007, to make private hospitals and nursing homes accountable, stating that they are detrimental to the medical profession. The proposed amendments were based on the recommendations made by retired Supreme Court judge, Justice Vikramajit Sen. At Belagavi, over 10,000 private practice doctors assembled near Suvarna Vidhana Soudha, housing both houses of legislature and staged a protest against the proposed ‘Karnataka Private Medical Establishment Bill,’ which they said contained “harsh” provisions.
The proposed amendment intends to make private doctors accountable and recommends stringent action for their negligence, including imprisonment. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah was quoted as requesting a delegation of doctors, who met him at Belagavi, to withdraw their protest, saying the government’s intention to bring the amendments to the Act was not to trouble them.
Siddaramaiah also told them that there was no need to harbour any fear about the proposed bill and that the government has not drafted it with an intention to trouble the doctors. He said that before the bill is tabled, he would have discussions with the health minister and office-bearers of the doctors association, according to officials. Speaking to PTI at Belagavi, national president of Indian Medical Association, Dr Ravi Wankhedakar said that there was anguish among doctors about the bill.