Law on cards to treat attacks on docs as non-bailable offence

- Manish Gautam, Kathmandu

Oct 5, 2017-The government has begun preparations to introduce a law that would treat attacks on doctors and health institutions as non-bailable offence, with a jail sentence of up to three years. 

The move comes on the heels of the protest launched by doctors nationwide demanding, among others, a law with the provision of jail without bail to ensure the safety of their persons and their workplace. 

The outline of the law prepared by the Ministry of Health (MoH) and Nepal Medical Association (NMA) has proposed a jail term of up to three years and a fine up to Rs 300,000 to the offenders. In case of minor incidents, the draft law has proposed a jail sentence of three months to one year, though it does not define the circumstances that warrant the incidents to be treated as minor or major offences.  

“Issues that are currently being discussed include assault on doctors and vandalism and arson in health institutions, among others. Many of these issues would be taken up by the investigating authorities,” said Dr Lochan Karki of the NMA. 

The law is expected to discourage attacks on doctors and vandalism of hospitals, while patients and their relatives can have legal recourse if they feel that they have been victims of medical malpractice.

Formation of an experts’ committee has been proposed to investigate the concerned doctors and their treatment. The committee will also conduct grading of the negligence that any health worker might have committed during treatment. In an event of investigation, the legal cost and compensation for the concerned doctor will be borne by the government.

The draft law has also proposed mandatory registration of doctors at the MoH under the Security of the Health Workers and Health Organizations Act 2010.  

Dr Bhola Ram Shrestha, chief of the Curative Services Division at the MoH, said they were working to amend some of the provisions in Act to address the demands of the agitating doctors. 

Published: 05-10-2017 07:42

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