Bengaluru: Dr Devi Prasad Shetty, founder and Chairman of Narayana Health, who was preparing to leave for Belgaum to stand shoulder to shoulder with a string of doctors who are on strike from Thursday to register their protest against the Karnataka Private Medical Establishments (Amendment) Bill 2017, called the bill "unfortunate".
"This is an Amendment that essentially shows us in poor light, and this cannot be countenanced," he said. "I am going to Belgaum and will participate in the ongoing strike on Thursday as our hospital extends its support to the strike,” he adds.
Speaking about the controversial imprisonment provisions in the Amendment Bill, Dr Shetty said: "Over six bodies are already investigating any form of negligence, based on patient complaints, and now the Government wants to add another one! What is more shocking is that we are not even allowed to represent ourselves through a lawyer. It is as if our profession is being equated with criminals and goons. My main concern is that you cannot imprison doctors. It is, after all, a noble profession."
Dr. Devi Shetty said that with his hospital entering the strike, which sees some 5000 outpatients daily and conducts close to 100 surgeries a day, all of this would be affected as it will all stand cancelled. "Patients will be informed via messages or emails or calls about the same," he said, noting "patients choose us over government facilities for a reason."
Raising the prospect of endless legal wrangles tying up medical services, he said Consumer Courts take years to give a judgement. "Justice takes time, judgements cannot be given casually."
Can’t fall sick today
The face-off between the government and private hospitals is expected to put people to great hardship with some 600 clinics and another 6,000 hospitals across the state to down the shutters, and close to some 22,000 doctors deciding to stop offering their services indefinitely from 8 am Thursday morning.
The Karnataka Private Medical Establishments (Amendment) Bill proposes to regulate all clinics, and has draconian provisions including imprisonment of doctors who are seen to have erred.