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Medical services hit in Rajasthan as doctors protest Right to Health Bill

Medical services affected in parts of Rajasthan on after govt doctors and faculty members in medical colleges went on a strike in solidarity with pvt doctors agitating against Right to Health Bill

Health

Press Trust of India Jaipur
Medical services were affected in parts of Rajasthan on Wednesday after government doctors and faculty members in medical colleges went on a one-day strike in solidarity with private doctors agitating against the Right to Health Bill.
However, several government doctors attended to patients in OPDs at places like Bharatpur, Alwar and Udaipur.
Emergency services and ICUs were exempted from the strike.
A health department official said in the evening that there was no significant impact of the boycott because the OPDs were handled through alternative arrangements.
There was not much impact of the boycott in Sawai Mansingh (SMS) hospitals, the largest state-run hospitals in Rajasthan. Services remained unaffected in Dausa, the hometown of state Health Minister Parsadi Lal Meena.
In Rajasthan, private doctors are demanding withdrawal of the Bill passed in the state assembly last Tuesday. According to the Bill, every resident of the state will have the right to emergency treatment and care "without prepayment" at any "public health institution, health care establishment and designated health care centres".
Iqbal Khan, joint secretary, health department, had on Tuesday issued an order to medical college principals directing them to ensure that medical services in OPD, IPD, ICU, emergency and maternity wards were not affected and to take disciplinary action against the doctors going on leave without approval.
Meena said the strike was "unfair" and "unjustified" and that the doors of the government were always open for any negotiation.
Taking a tough stand, the state government warned of disciplinary action against the government doctors for going on leave without approval. As a result, some of the doctors returned to work after boycotting work for two hours in Alwar, Bharatpur, Udaipur and Dungarpur.
Amid the protest, Bundi collector Ravindra Goswami, who is also an MBBS doctor, attended to a few patients at the district hospital.
The management of OPD in SMS hospital was handled by additional principal, additional superintendent and other doctors engaged in administrative work.
"We are trying our best that no patient returns without consulting the doctor. Nursing staff is cooperating with us," Rajeev Bagarhatta, principal of SMS medical college, said.
Meanwhile, many people from neighbouring states were caught off guard as they were unaware of the strike.
"I came from Haryana today to consult a doctor for my cousin who is facing weakness and problems in the nervous system. I was not aware of the strike," Nasruddin said. He, however, managed to consult a doctor later.
Another patient Surendra Meena said he came to the hospital due to abdominal pain and was able to see a doctor after waiting for an hour.
Ajay Chaudhary, president, in-service doctors association, said the association had given a call for one-day mass leave on Wednesday to boycott work in support of the movement against the Right to Health Bill (RTH).
"The doctors who are working on administrative posts have handled OPDs. Our intention was not to trouble patients but to express our sentiments that the government should talk to the agitating doctors and if there is any misconception, the government should remove them by sitting with the doctors," Chaudhary said.
An official of the medical and health department said there was no significant impact of the boycott of the work as alternative arrangements were made across the state.
He said that selection of nearly 300 junior resident doctors out of total 1,000 has been done through walk-in interviews and 1,800 medical officers appointed recently were deployed to health centres in the rural areas to manage the situation.
Private doctors continued to protest against the Bill. They pulled hand carts while placing banners like "Dr Agrawal Namkeen Bhandar" on them, claiming that the ruling dispensation does not want them to serve as medical practitioners and therefore they were selling 'namkeen' (snacks), juice and potatoes on the carts.
Dr Gautam, who runs a hospital, said there was no need for the Right to Health Bill as he said the medical institutes were already providing services to the people. He said through the Bill, 'inspector-raj' will increase because local authorities will create pressure on them in the name of inspection and action like seizure can be taken.
"This will make our work very difficult. We are already fulfilling so many compliances in running our own hospital and after this Bill, the interference of local authorities will unnecessarily increase which is not fair," he said.
Notably, Chief Secretary Usha Sharma and other senior officials of the state government had held a meeting with a delegation of the agitating private hospitals on Sunday and assured them of holding a discussion on their suggestions regarding the Bill.
However, the doctors were adamant and said any discussion would be possible only after the Bill was withdrawn.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Mar 29 2023 | 10:20 PM IST

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