Doctors’ protest hits patients hard

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Sep 24, 2017-

The ongoing strike called by the Nepal Medical Association has affected hundreds of thousands of patients across the country.

Beginning on Friday, doctors and paramedics across the country have boycotted their duties as part of their protest against the government’s decision to formulate a law that makes the concerned doctor liable to pay compensation if his or her negligence is proven responsible for a patient’s death. An estimated 400,000 patients were 

denied much needed medical services on Saturday.

The NMA said it would not stop the protest unless the Cabinet decides to withdraw its decision on the compensation issue.

The umbrella organisation of doctors said “jail without bail” should be implemented immediately so that doctors across the country can serve their patients without fear.

Dr Jyotindra Sharma, director of the Sahid Gangalal National Health Centre, Bansbari, said they are running only the emergency services. Dr Sharma said doctors have taken the protest as their ultimate resistance to the allegations against physicians that have promoted unsafe environment for treating patients.

With the doctors intensifying their agitation, the government has backtracked on its decision. Issuing a statement on Friday, the government indirectly said that no such decision was made. Instead, the government said that the Cabinet decided to direct the Health Ministry to systematise independent investigations, professional liability insurance and compensation in the event of death or lifelong disability in patients due to “gross negligence” of doctors.

Ministry sources said the PM’s Office had to change its decision to save its face after the move drew widespread criticism. In discussion with the health minister, the chief secretary had agreed to change the minutes before making them public.

NMA officials are holding talks with Officiating Prime Minister Bijay Kumar Gachhadar on Saturday night.

Published: 24-09-2017 07:19

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