Even as five persons died including an infant throughout the state as the doctors continue to protest against the Karnataka Private Medical Establishments (KPME) Act (Amendment) - 2017, the joint committee on grievance redressal committee has recommended dropping the jail clause from the clause.
According to Suvarna News, the State government seems to have bowed to the protesting doctors' pressure as the panel suggested to do away with the clause of imprisonment of doctors - as reported earlier - from the bill. However, the panel has recommended for a fine up to Rs one lakh. While the bill is yet to get clearance in the session, this bit of news is expected to lift the spirits of the protesting doctors.
The state government had proposed to amend the Karnataka Private Medical Establishments (KPME) Act 2007 empowering the government to regulate private hospitals and fix fees for medical procedures. The bill follows a recommendation of a panel headed by retired Supreme Court judge Vikramajit Sen. The bill authorises the state government to fix the rate of treatment provided in private hospitals. The hospitals have to follow the price chart provided by the state government and cannot overcharge it.
Under the bill, the government proposes to determine the treatment price at the hospitals that include consultation and even surgery at private hospitals. Violators will be slapped with up to Rs 5 lakh fine and imprisonment of six months to three years.
Calling it a "draconian", the doctors from across the state are protesting in Belagavi to draw the attention of the State government as the winter session is underway.
Earlier in the day, Health Minister KR Ramesh Kumar had reportedly threatened to resign if the bill failed to see its light of the day. Ramesh Kumar later told the Legislative Council that the bill is in the interest of the common people, yet the doctors are protesting against this.
Meanwhile, the doctors are still adamant about their demand and have continued their strike leaving hundreds of patients at their risk.