Fresh changes in HPE Bill fail to convince Dr KC

  • Fasting surgeon says blanket ban on new medical schools in Valley for 10 years a must
- Manish Gautam, Kathmandu

Aug 12, 2017-As Dr Govinda KC’s 11th fast-unto-death entered its 19th day on Friday, there were serious concerns about his health condition, with doctors attending to him continuously warning of possibility of life-threatening infections.

By afternoon, speculations were rife that Dr KC would call off his hunger strike, as the parliamentary Committee on Women, Children, Elderly Citizen and Social Welfare had reworked on the draft of the Health Profession Education (HPE) Bill that was finalised by a parliamentary taskforce.

The taskforce on Thursday had finalised the bill with some crucial amendments, which would have benefited certain groups and gone against Dr KC’s demands.

In a bid to find a middle path, the House committee has made some new amendments. As per a new amendment to the sub-clause of Clause 13, the decision to grant affiliation to medical colleges will be taken by the Health Profession Education Commission (HPEC) if they meet the criteria set by it. After the amendment, the House committee sent the HPE Bill for the endorsement.

Earlier, the parliamentary taskforce had added the sub-clause, paving the way for establishing medical colleges “that meet the criteria” in Kathmandu Valley to run MBBS courses. This particular amendment would have directly benefited the Manmohan Memorial Institute of Health Sciences (MMIHS) in Kathmandu, which is promoted by CPN-UML lawmakers, and the Birtamod-based B&C Hospital where CPN (Maoist Centre) leaders have their stakes.

“Dr KC’s talks team has agreed to the new amendment made today. We are working with his team so as to end his hunger strike as soon as possible,” said Gagan Thapa, a lawmaker and former health minister, who has been liaising with the government, government talks team and Dr KC’s representatives. 

Similarly, after the new amendment, the preamble of the HPE Bill will read “the Act is based on the health profession education policy prepared by a high-level taskforce led by Kedar Bhakta Mathema”.

Although the parliamentary committee has forwarded the bill for endorsement, some CPN-UML lawmakers including Rajendra Pandey have objected to the new preamble. It is learnt that Pandey wants the name of Mathema-led committee to be removed for reasons that were not yet clear. 

By the time the Post went to press, Dr KC and his dialogue team, led by Dr YP Singh, were discussing the fresh amendments. 

Dr KC has been seeking a blanket ban on opening of new medical colleges in the Valley for 10 years, as envisioned by the HPE Bill.

NMA urges docs to stop services

The Nepal Medical Association, an umbrella organisation of doctors across the country, has called on all medical practitioners to stop delivering services except to emergency patients. The NMA has said it is forced to resort to such stern measures as there has been no headway in talks to address Dr Govinda KC’s demands. The decision of the NMA will impact thousands of patients across the country. 

Published: 12-08-2017 07:38

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