Private doctors' strike hits out-patient care in Karnataka

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It is alleged that some hospitals were charging exorbitantly.

Dr Nityananda Rao, president, Karnataka Orthopedic Association, who led the doctors' delegation, told Siddaramaiah that according to the Knowledge Commission, private practice contributes to 76 per cent of medical treatment in the state and the remaining is by government hospitals.

Health services were partially hit in Karnataka yesterday as several private hospitals and nursing homes did not function following protests by doctors against proposed amendments to an Act governing the medical profession.

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Out-patient service in private hospitals and clinics across Karnataka were affected on Monday as some 50,000 private doctors went on strike in protest against an amendment bill that is meant to regulate their functioning. At the site where thousands of doctors are to hold protests adjacent to Suvarna Vidhan Soudha, President of IMA Dr H.N. Ravindranath said, he would consider the gathering of doctors as the IMA's general body meeting. "Our primary demand was dropping the grievances committee but the government is not in mood to take it back".

Out-patient service in private hospitals and clinics across Karnataka were affected on Monday as some 50,000 private doctors went on strike.

The private doctors are staging the hunger strike at Belagavi, about 500 km from the state capital Bengaluru, where the 10-day winter session of the state legislature began on Monday and the entire government machinery, including the cabinet, officials and lawmakers will stay put till November 24. "Doctors will have to think twice before attending patients in case of emergency because of the Act" he said adding that there are possibilities of doctors in the state opting other states for work.

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The doctors continued with their protest on Monday despite Chief Minister Siddaramaiah assuring them an amendment in the bill. "The Chief Minister told us the amendment bill would be tabled in the assembly on Wednesday and discussed by the lawmakers along with the report of the joint select committee set up to study the provisions". The outpatient departments were not shut as the private hospital association (PHANA) after its discussion with Indian Medical Association ( IMA) did not give a call for a bandh in Bengaluru.

About 20,000 private doctors, Ayush practitioners, nurses, paramedics and medical students from across the state participated in the sit-in demo near the secretariat. "Amendments to the KPME Act are draconian and do not help the public, hospitals or the doctor".

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