Health Care

KPME bill: Doctors call off strike, OPDs to work normally from tomorrow

KPME bill: Doctors call off strike, OPDs to work normally from tomorrow

Hundreds of private hospitals across the state on Thursday shut their OPDs again as thousands of doctors intensified their strike against the penal provisions in the amendment bill to the KPME Act drafted by the government.

Dr HN Ravindra, president of Indian Medical Association (IMA) Karnataka, told Hindustan Times, "If the government sets up a law this way, doctors are going to be extremely wary of taking up risky cases, as the bill even proposes imprisoning the doctors for up to three years and imposing a fine of Rs5 lakh". Bengaluru's private doctors had joined the strike Thursday.

Although the private doctors had said that they would take up emergencies, dialysis and chemotherapy services, The Hindu reported that some hospitals are refusing the life-saving dialysis too for needy patients.

Of the registered 1.25 lakh doctors in the state, only about 10,000 work in the state-run hospitals, while over a lakh are employed in about 40,000 private hospitals, nursing homes and clinics.

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddharamaiah requested the doctors to call off the strike since dialogue between doctor's and government is still on.

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The four-day strike began on Tuesday.

"The state government wants to amend the KPME Act, 2007 to provide a grievances redressal mechanism to patients and regulate the cost of treatment in the private hospitals in the state", said Siddaramaiah in another tweet.

PTI reported police Thursday as saying that students of a Ramanagar school who were injured after their van collided with a government bus reportedly faced difficulties after a nearby private hospital allegedly refused to accept them and referred them to Bengaluru.

Siddaramaiah and Ramesh Kumar are expected to meet at the Belagavi Suvarna Vidhana Soudha later on Thursday night in a bid to break the deadlock and probably announce the State Government's decision on the floor of the legislature on Friday to facilitate calling off the strike. He complained of chest pain following which his family frantically rushed him to one hospital to another only to be denied treatment leading to his death eventually.

The crippling of medical services led to furore in the Karnataka Assembly, whose winter session is in progress in Belagavi.

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PHANA secretary R Raveendra alleged that state Health Minister Ramesh Kumar was adamant on passing the proposed amendments.

It is the doctors who have made it a prestige issue, as they have called for a state wide agitation, when the Bill was yet to be tabled, he alleged.

"We will try to find solution soon, we are open for discussion with doctors". The government has no intention to harass doctors or the private medical institutions, he said.

Unhappy with the minister's response, BJP members walked out of the House demanding immediate resolution even as they claimed that the delay may cause more deaths of patients.

He said, "As we empanelled you and we have to pay you tax payers money for services, we have to fix charges for services".

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