NMA to shut hospitals from tomorrow

  • govt plan to rein in ‘negligent docs’
- Post Report, Kathmandu

Sep 21, 2017-

Nepal Medical Association (NMA) said on Wednesday that hospitals and clinics across the country would be shut from Friday as part of its protest against government plan to force medical practitioners to pay compensation in the event of any untoward incident during the course of treatment.

A Cabinet meeting on Monday proposed bringing a law that will require the doctors involved in treatment to pay compensation if s/he is found guilty of negligence. The Cabinet has decided to direct the Ministry of Health to draft a bill to this effect.

The government move follows frequent incidents/ reports at hospitals 

where doctors are often accused of negligence for patients’ deaths or other health complications.

The umbrella organisation of the medical and dental doctors across the country, however, has taken exception to the government plan and demanded that the government roll back its decision. On Monday, the NMA had warned of shutting all the hospitals if the government did not withdraw the decision “within 72 hours”. 

According to Dr Lochan Karki, general secretary of the NMA, the government failed to respond to the association’s call. 

Issuing a statement on Wednesday, the NMA has made an appeal to all medical and dental colleges, hospitals, clinics and nursing homes to stop providing services from Friday. The NMA said the doctors will provide only emergency services.    

Earlier on Wednesday, doctors during a meeting called by the NMA criticised the government plan, saying such a move would demotivate them. 

“How do I feel secure each time I enter the operation theatre at Bir Hospital?” wondered senior neurosurgeon Dr Gopal Raman Sharma. “We are not safe--neither at private hospitals nor at government health facilities.”

Former Dr Anjani Kumar Jha, former President of the NMA, said the government is deliberately trying to disacknowledge the health profession. 

The government, however, is yet to issue any formal decision regarding its Monday’s proposal. 

Health Minister Giriraj Mani Pokhrel expressed his ignorance about the decision. “We were not consulted at all,” said Minister Pokhrel. “Such a blatant decision or proposal without any consultation won’t be sustainable anyway.” 

Published: 21-09-2017 07:52

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