Bengaluru, Jun 16: A delegation of doctors from private medical associations met Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Thursday to express their concerns over the Private Medical Establishments (Amendment) Bill, 2017.
The 11-member team of doctors from the Association of Healthcare Providers (AHPI) and the Indian Medical Association termed the bill “draconian” and requested the government to reconsider it before it is passed by the legislature. The bill was tabled in the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday and aims to fix rates for treatment in private medical institutions among other things.
“The recommendations should include government hospitals, too. If the act comes into force, most of the small hospitals will have to shut down,” said Dr R Ravindra, Secretary, Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association (PHANA). Saying that not much investment is coming into the private healthcare sector, he said the government should increase the expenditure on healthcare.
B S Ajaikumar, the chairman of Health Care Global Hospitals, said: “We are conscious of our right to take care (of patients) and we are already providing quality healthcare.”
Besides, the doctors said, private medical establishments do not require another regulating body as there are consumer fora, civil courts and the Karnataka Medical Council to look into medical practices. They requested Siddaramaiah not to fix rates for private hospitals which they described as “healthy competition”.
Dr Devi Shetty, Chairman, Narayana Health City, red-flagged the provision of imprisonment of up to three years if hospitals/nursing homes collect charges higher than those fixed by the government. “Doctors will be scared to serve if the government says they will be imprisoned if patients are unhappy,” he said. Dr Ravindra said other provisions in the bill should be included as guidelines and should not be legally binding. Though there was no concrete assurance form Siddaramaiah, the chief minister said he would speak to Health Minister K R Ramesh Kumar and respond to the concerns raised by private hospitals.
Private medical associations have planned a protest rally from the city railway station to the Freedom Park on Friday where they expect at least 7,000 medical professionals to take part. “This is to sensitise the government. There is a lot of fear in the minds of doctors about their freedom of practising, and that they will be exposed to a lot of harassment,” Dr Ravindra said.
Leading doctors meet CM, urge him not to fix rates in private hospitals