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Bengaluru: KPME Bill in for rejig as thousands of doctors strike across state

From Our Special Correspondent
Daijiworld Media Network - Bengaluru


Bengaluru, Nov 13: With thousands of doctors in all private hospitals and clinics across Karnataka striking work affecting the out-patient services in protest against the Karnataka Private Medical Establishments Bill, which was introduced in the State Legislative Assembly meeting for the 10-day winter session at the Belagavi Suvarna Vidhana Soudha from Monday, indications are that the State Government may tone down some of the most contentious provisions in the bill in order to buy peace with the medical fraternity.

As a large number of striking private doctors staged a day-long hunger strike at a specially erected pandal near the Suvarna Vidhana Soundha ahead of the commencement of the winter session of the State Legislature, the Chief Minister Siddaramaiah later met a delegation of striking doctors led by State President of Indian Medical Association Dr H N Ravindra along with Cabinet Ministers M B Patil, H K Patil, T B Jayachandra and senior officials.

"The State Government does not intend to trouble the medical fraternity," Siddaramaiah said and requested the striking doctors to call off their agitation. "We will take steps to address your genuine grievances and hold discussions with you over the bill. We don’t want to harass the doctors but only want to protect the interests of the poor," he assured.

However, the striking doctors decided to continue their protest until the State Government came forward with concrete steps to address the demands, Dr Ravindra told reporters pointing out that they have already conveyed all their objections to State Health Minister Ramesh Kumar and have demanded the personal intervention of the Chief Minister to resolve the issue. "We will not accept the draconian provisions in the bill," he declared.

Striking doctors are demanding capping of prices to be limited only to government health schemes as 76 per cent patients under the government schemes are attended by private hospitals and nursing homes.

Private hospitals throughout the State had put up notices at their entrances warning the patients that the medical services will be affected and the out-patient facilities will not be available due to the strike by doctors.

State Health Secretary Ajay Seth has directed all government hospitals to depute more doctors in all government hospitals and primary health centres all over the State to cope with the rush of people from private hospitals and clinics for treatment.

The striking doctors are firm in their demands for dropping the stringent provisions such as capping prices for services, jail term and hefty penalty for erring doctors in the Karnataka Private Medical Establishment Bill, 2017.

The Belagavi district administration has clamped prohibitory orders under Section 144 of Criminal Procedure Code and has banned demonstrations within a radius of one kilometre from the Suvarna Vidhana Soudha.

Apart from the striking doctors, the farmers under the banner of Rajya Raitha Sangha, the Action Committee for landless and homeless are holding protests near Suvarna Soudha and Kannada activists staged a protest at Rani Chennamma Circle in Belagavi protesting Maha Melav organised by Maharashtra Ekikaran Samithi (MES).

Though the State Government has not officially conveyed its decision to the striking doctors, official sources indicated that some of the provisions might be relaxed as part of the efforts to buy peace with the medical fraternity.

Health Minister Ramesh Kumar, who has been vigorously spearheading the bill, stayed off the brief discussions that the Chief Minister had with the striking doctors and said it is for the State Legislature to decide.

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Comment on this article

  • Dr. Jayateerth Kulkarni, Bangalore

    Fri, Nov 17 2017

    It should be noted that the government has millions of taxpayers’ money and yet they cannot provide decent healthcare to the population. And they expect the private sector to provide healthcare cheaply on the behalf of the government.

    Do they provide land, buildings, equipment, etc. at concessional rates?
    Do they provide water and electricity at concessional rates?
    Do they provide loans at concessional rates?

    Why do they want the private hospitals to comply with NABH standards when the government hospitals are languishing?

    They want the private hospitals to follow labour laws for their staff. How can their salaries be met if there are price caps?

    Let the government run their hospitals at the prices they are proposing without taking any taxpayer's money. If they can demonstrate a viable revenue model, the private sector can follow the government.

    The government hospitals should do what the health minister is asking the private sector to do – provide cheap health care from funds generated solely out of the services provided (without taking any taxpayer's money). Let us see whether they can do it.

    If they cannot, they should hand over the entire health budget to the private sector before asking them to provide cheap health care.

    Or take over all private hospitals and pay the doctors and staff properly (on par with government doctors). Then the private sector will be happy to provide all the services at whatever price point the government wants.

    The message getting across is that doctors are greedy, money-minded and do not care for patient's welfare or lives.

    The sole point being missed (deliberately) is the gross inadequacy of quality of public healthcare which is squarely the responsibility of the government.

    The private sector is not there to make up for the government’s inadequacies. By that example all malls should clothe the poor and all restaurants should feed the hungry.

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • dr vidya bhat, Mangaluru

    Tue, Nov 14 2017

    If all doctors are given government jobs, they would be very happy to join.
    No hassles about clinic maintenance, building tax, traders licence, make clinic/ hospital KPME compliant,water bill, electricity bill, assistants salary, receptionists salary, sweepers salary, procuring medicines, consumables, working beyond time to make ends meet etc.
    Enjoy government salary, work for fixed hours and be not accountable to anyone.

    DisAgree Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

  • Dr M Kamath, Mangalore

    Tue, Nov 14 2017

    True....just like in a country called North Korea.

    DisAgree Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • Dr.S.Kamath, Mumbai

    Tue, Nov 14 2017

    Accept everything except your comment that Govt Doctors need not work
    Govt Doctors many of them are Excellent Highly skilled Knowledge able Hard working .Come to Mumbai I will show many such Excellent dedicated doctors they are selfless just like God.I am not a Govt Dr but I have seen them working closely

    DisAgree Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • Peter, Bangalore

    Tue, Nov 14 2017

    Karnataka Private Medical Establishments Bill is pro poor bill.
    As usual good initiative by state govt.
    I am sure, Central Govt follow the same in coming days.

    DisAgree [9] Agree [3] Reply Report Abuse

  • Unknown, Mangalore

    Tue, Nov 14 2017

    Get ur IQ checked plz.

    DisAgree [4] Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • Dr.S.Kamath, Mumbai

    Tue, Nov 14 2017

    KPME bill already passed by Karnataka Govt in 2007 no body is opposing that .Now Karnataka govt is proposing amendment to it .In this 2 clauses are opposed 1.Capping of price .Doctors say capping is ok for Govt sponsored schemes not for all so for poor less price ok with Drs .Why charge less fir Rich ?2.Alreasy there are 6 bodies to keep check on Drs why additional body to punish Drs ?

    DisAgree Agree [4] Reply Report Abuse

  • Dilip RV, Mangalore

    Mon, Nov 13 2017

    Could some Doctor here please clarify whether, on your previous strike on November 3rd 2017, casualty/emergency services were functioning at all hospitals? I was told by few people that it was not.
    If we are not mistaken, only OPD services were supposed to be closed, and not emergency services.

    DisAgree [3] Agree [8] Reply Report Abuse

  • Dr.S.Kamath, Mumbai

    Mon, Nov 13 2017

    Officially a doctor cannot do strike refusing Emergency medical services so no body will say about that .But from my sources within Karanataka doc's are feeling like Congee govt is suffocating their profession so they will not available for any medical services.

    DisAgree [13] Agree [11] Reply Report Abuse

  • Dr M Kamath, Mangalore

    Tue, Nov 14 2017

    Dear all, there appears to be a lot of misunderstanding amongst the general public regarding private medical care. Private care available in India is fairly competent and affordable despite the issues highlighted by many readers here.

    The society should realise that the proposed amendments have the potential to cause deep and long term damage to affordable private healthcare, bringing them down to the level of government hospital standards . The general public should be even more worried about these amendments than doctors themselves.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [8] Reply Report Abuse

  • Pinto, BLR

    Mon, Nov 13 2017

    Modi should first bring entire Medical Profession from medical colleges to hospitals under GST as it is the biggest black money generator from admission to medical colleges to hospitals bills & medical practice. Kill corruption & un accounted black money first.

    If pharmacies can be under GST, what is the governments problem for hospitals even if GST is nominal 1% ?

    Sanity, sense and compassion towards patients automatically develops from there.

    No need of such bills in future once Doctors have time to listen to patients rather than pharma companies recommendations & unnecessary tests patients forced to take at their preferred commission agents facilities.

    DisAgree [13] Agree [10] Reply Report Abuse

  • Avinash, Bangalore

    Mon, Nov 13 2017

    Sheer Ignorance! Hospitals are already under GST!

    DisAgree [3] Agree [15] Reply Report Abuse

  • Pinto, BLR

    Mon, Nov 13 2017

    Baba it is only on medicines, surgical supplies and hospital equipments etc. But, not on surgery charges, consultancies and most other services.

    It is the surgery & consultancy charges written on back of bills in pen (major portion) & taken in cash from patients is the pain point for patients & to the nation as black money.

    Mere GST registration of hospital doesn't mean there is GST on all services of hospitals under GST. Most is exempt except medicines & consumables.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [4] Reply Report Abuse

  • Dilip RV, Mangalore

    Tue, Nov 14 2017

    You didn't answer my question regarding whether the casualty / emergency departments functioned on Nov 3rd 2017.
    Also, what does "Congee" mean? Would you be fine if I addressed you as a Docee? Let's follow some decorum here please.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [3] Reply Report Abuse

  • Dilip RV, Mangalore

    Tue, Nov 14 2017

    Doctors at private clinics don't even give a receipt, forget GST.
    They have kept staff to book appointments but none to give receipts.

    DisAgree [4] Agree [4] Reply Report Abuse


    Tue, Nov 14 2017

    You have a right to a bill. Please ask for a bill politely. Most big hospitals have totally stopped cash payment to drs. It s only cheque

    DisAgree [2] Agree [2] Report Abuse

  • sharan, Mangalore

    Mon, Nov 13 2017

    Right..just like you pay 18% GST at purchases docs will then charge 18% or 28% GST.That's extra for the patient.Thanks for the idea.Modi happy, Pinto happy & Doc also happy.Patient Govinda😌

    DisAgree [3] Agree [9] Reply Report Abuse

  • Pinto, BLR

    Tue, Nov 14 2017

    Sharan, Mangalore

    I have not said to impose 18% or 28% GST. Only said don't exempt Doctors consultancy & surgery charges from GST. May be 1% or max up to 5% you can charge. If it can be charged on medicines what is the problem in charging a nominal rate on doctors consultancy & surgery charges ?

    You rarely get (or get part of the charges bills) at private clinics/consultancies for surgery, consultancy etc. This is the same black money jacking up real estate & land prices. All this black money is causing inflation.

    1% GST doesn't hurt either patients or Doctors I presume. It is a clean & transparent system for all.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [1] Reply Report Abuse

  • Dinesh, Dubai

    Mon, Nov 13 2017

    first they stoped power of Lokayuktha,then they killed DC,Police officer, then they started to kill common man and Writters now they are trying to kill doctors.

    DisAgree [11] Agree [12] Reply Report Abuse

  • Anand, Mangaluru

    Mon, Nov 13 2017

    How the Aam Aadmi party lead by Arvind Kejrival in Delhi despite all the insults by other political parties and people, is providing better medical facilities in government run hospitals than in private hospitals there, can anybody explain.

    DisAgree [5] Agree [15] Reply Report Abuse

  • Unknown, Mangalore

    Mon, Nov 13 2017

    Look if ur pointing at AIIMS I would like u to tell that AIIMS , JIPMER,PGI comes under central government not the state government. When aiims pgi And jipmer can give good facilities u can’t the state govt give the same facility??

    DisAgree [1] Agree [16] Reply Report Abuse

  • SJM, Mangalore

    Mon, Nov 13 2017

    Dr. S. Kamath - I appreciate your comments . Just tell me which state govt is giving good health care ?

    DisAgree [3] Agree [19] Reply Report Abuse

  • Unknown, Mangalore

    Mon, Nov 13 2017

    Y state govt is not able to provide same quality as private hospitals??
    If govt hospitals give good facilities then there would be no pvt hospitals.
    Do u tell me govt hospitals are corrupt or pvt hospitals are corrupt.

    Any minister or the official y do they choose pvt hospitals or go abroad for treatment , why can’t they go to govt hospital??

    DisAgree Agree [15] Reply Report Abuse

  • Dr.S.Kamath, Mumbai

    Mon, Nov 13 2017

    All central govt hospitals like AIIMS
    And Delhi state govt hospitals are the best in India
    Maharashtra also has superb govt hospitals but more hospitals as the size is too big

    DisAgree [1] Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • Dr.S.Kamath, Mumbai

    Mon, Nov 13 2017

    In UK there is National Health Services(NHS) through which Govt gives excellent medical services free of cost .British started various hospitals in India and also gave British legal system.Thus it would be best if Govt can give same best medical services free of cost .But unfortunately govt in Karnataka is not able to give good health care system which Private Doctors are giving.Insted of strengthening Govt Services Govt is trying to cut the wings of private Doctors so sad .
    Employ all Private Doctors into Govt system problem solved once for all

    DisAgree [5] Agree [26] Reply Report Abuse

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Title : Bengaluru: KPME Bill in for rejig as thousands of doctors strike across state


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