Bengaluru/Belagavi: The ongoing protest by doctors and private hospitals against the provision of the proposed Karnataka Private Medical Establishments (KPME) bill, threatens to severely disrupt health services across the state with long queues of patients visible at several government hospitals and deaths reported from some districts due to the non-availability of private medical services.
With the medical fraternity unrelenting in its demand that the bill would have to be scrapped as it infringes on their basic rights, it remains to be seen if Chief Minister Siddaramaiah holds back and does not table the bill in its present form in the Belagavi session or gives in to pressure and amends the contentious points in it.
Considering the gravity of the situation, there were reports of policemen visiting private clinics to see if they would offer their services on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the doctors under the banner of Indian Medical Association (IMA) sat on a relay hunger strike near the Suvarna Soudha in Belagavi demanding dropping of clauses in the KPME bill which make private hospitals and nursing homes accountable, stating that they are detrimental to the medical profession.
The proposed amendments were based on the recommendations made by retired Supreme Court judge, Justice Vikramajit Sen.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has reportedly requested a delegation of doctors, who met him at Belagavi, to withdraw their protest, saying the government's intention to bring the amendments to the Act was not to trouble them. But with three people dead because of the unannounced strike, it remains to be seen if the state can face a full-fledged private doctors' strike.