Patients denied services at government hospitals

- Arjun Poudel, Kathmandu

Feb 2, 2019-

Hundreds of patients who visited government hospitals throughout the country on Friday were deprived of health services as doctors refused to attend to them.

The Nepal Medical Association (NMA), an umbrella organisation of medical and dental doctors, had called doctors across the country to shut down all the general services except emergency in support of Dr Govinda KC.

Bhagwati Regmi, 66, of Bara district, who reached Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital on Friday, complained that she was denied health services despite paying for the ticket.

“The hospital administration should not have sold tickets if it could not provide its services. Now I have to wait till Monday to consult with my doctor,” said Regmi, a diabetic patient.

Harikala Chapai, 51, of Birendranagar is in Kathmandu for a surgery, for which she had scheduled a date three months ago. She was supposed to be admitted in the same hospital on Friday, but was instead told to schedule a new date.

“I don’t know how long I’ll have to wait for my surgery,” she said, “I cannot walk due to my ailment and I have no one in Kathmandu.”

Ramsharan Bista, 52, a rickshaw puller from Chokate, Nuwakot, who has been suffering from fever for the last two weeks, said he could not afford to get treatment in a private hospital and now he has to wait until Sunday for treatment.

Ram Bahadur Shrestha, 66 of Likhu Rural Municipality in Ramechhap district, who was at Bir Hospital for the treatment of urinary tract obstruction, complained that the doctors were insensitive towards the plight of patients.

Doctors at the hospital had told him that he will have to undergo a surgery of the kidney stones.

“I came here to show my reports to the doctor and schedule a time for surgery,” said Shrestha, who reached the hospital at 6:30 am to take the ticket. “We have already ran out of money, and now we’ll have to wait for two more days to get an appointment.”

However, doctors of private hospitals and nursing homes provided uninterrupted services on Friday.

“How could we deny services to patients?” asked RP Mainali, Deputy General Manager of Norvic Hospital.

Administration at Grande International Hospital said not a single patient returned without treatment on Friday.

Similarly, doctors at some government hospitals— Paropakar Maternity and Women Hospital and Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital— attended to their patients as usual.  

Meanwhile, the National Doctors’ Association and the Nepal Progressive Doctors’ Association did not follow the NMA’s instruction, citing that there were many other ways to protest instead of shutting down hospital services.

“More than 5,000 doctors affiliated to our associations provided services across the country on Friday,” Dr Santosh Paudel, chairman of National Doctors’ Association told the Post. “Government should however form a talk team and resolve the issues with KC.”

KC, a senior orthopaedic Surgeon at TUTH, had launched his latest fast-unto-death after a parliamentary committee made crucial amendments to the National Medical Education Bill, saying that it was against an agreement reached with the government. He ended his 16th hunger strike on Friday.

17 doctors arrested

Police on Friday arrested seventeen resident doctors who were staging a protest in a restricted zone near the President’s Office. The doctors were showing their solidarity with Dr Govinda KC.  

Chairman of National Resident Doctors’ Association Dr Sumit Pandey, Dr Bishal Agrawal, Dr Anit Sharma, Dr Ananda Singh, Dr Hemanta Bastola, Dr Badri Aryal and Dr Apurba Acharya, among others, were arrested while they were heading towards the President’s Office after staging a demonstration on the premises of TUTH.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health and Population on Friday warned the protesting doctors to withdraw all protest programs. Issuing a press release, the MoHP said the ministry was serious about the rights of patients to get health care services, and warned of action as per the law.

Published: 02-02-2019 11:29

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