Docs up the ante as govt renews call to end strike

  • NMA warns of stern protest as patients suffer
- Post Report, Kathmandu

Sep 27, 2017-

As the government renewed its call to end a national medical strike of doctors across the country, the Nepal Medical Association (NMA), the umbrella body of medical practitioners, reiterated its position with a tougher warning that it would halt all forms of medical services, save emergency, if its concerns “are not addressed immediately”. 

Doctors across the country have shut hospital services across the country since Friday to protest against a government plan to “rein in negligent doctors”. 

Drawing the agitation doctors’ attention to the problems faced by hundreds and thousands of people across the country, Minister for Health Giriraj Mani Pokhrel on Tuesday urged them to withdraw their protest on humanitarian grounds. As per a rough estimate, around 400,000 people visit hospitals across the country every day. 

“The government is doing its best to address the agitating doctors’ concerns,” said Minister Pokhrel at a press meet. “Their demands will be fully addressed once the prime minister returns home.”Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba is scheduled to return home on Thursday.  Doctors and paramedics across the country have refused to attend to patients since Friday to protest against a Cabinet decision of September 18 that proposes introducing a law which requires the attending physician to pay compensation for harms on patients if investigations reveal the doctor’s negligence in the treatment process.

The NMA has been demanding an official decision from the Cabinet annulling the compensation issue. “The government has already made its position clear on the decision that sparked the protest. We call on all the doctors to withdraw their protest on humanitarian grounds,” said Minister Pokhrel. But in a press statement on Tuesday, NMA General Secretary Dr Lochan Karki said the doctors’ umbrella body was forced “to take this undesirable decision [of strike] during Dashain, one of the biggest festivals in Nepal, due to the government’s apathy towards our concerns”.

Terming the government “insensitive”, the agitating doctors have accused it of putting public’s health at stake. The NMA in its statement has also warned of intensifying the protest in coming days. The NMA is also demanding a provision as per which anyone attacking a doctor or a health facility should be sent to jail without giving the person in question a chance of posting bail.

Published: 27-09-2017 08:02

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