Outpatient services in private hospitals and nursing homes in the capital city of Karnataka are likely to be hit from Thursday, as doctors announce an indefinite stir against proposed amendments to an Act which make hospitals accountable for medical negligence.
Doctors are opposing the amendments to the Karnataka Private Medical Establishments Act, 2007, which among others propose six months to three years of jail term and hefty penalty for medical negligence.
The proposed amendments are based on recommendations of former Supreme Court judge Vikramajit Sen.
Upping their ante, the doctors affiliated to five medical bodies in the city on Wednesday announced the shutdown of out-patient services till the government drooped its move, which they alleged was "detrimental" to medical profession.
"There are 22,000 doctors in Bengaluru, who will close outpatient services from Thursday. However, emergency services, selective surgeries, dialysis and deliveries will be carried out," Private Hospitals And Nursing Homes Association (PHANA) president C Jayanna said.
Mr Jayanna said the five associations including the Indian Medical Association (IMA), PHANA and others held an emergency meeting on Wednesday where they decided to intensify the stir indefinitely.
He charged that the state government was implementing the Sen committee report selectively.
The report, if implemented in toto, will make government hospitals equally accountable, he said.
"This Act, if passed, will wreck havoc. We briefed the government and health minister, but no one heeded to our plea," Mr Jayanna told reporters here.
A doctors delegation had yesterday met Chief Minister Siddaramaiah at Belagavi, where the legislature session is on.
Siddaramaiah had appealed to the doctors to call off their stir, saying the government's intention to bring the amendments was not to trouble them.
Mr Jayanna also rejected the charge that the doctors were holding the state to ransom.
PHANA secretary R Raveendra alleged that state Health Minister Ramesh Kumar was adamant on passing the proposed amendments.
Health services had been hit in Karnataka twice earlier this month as private hospitals and nursing homes failed to function following protests against the proposed amendments.
At Belagavi, over 10,000 private practice doctors had assembled near Suvarna Vidhana Soudha, and staged a protest on Wednesday.