Medical services are likely to be seriously affected in Rajasthan on Wednesday with the government doctors and faculty members of medical colleges announcing to go on one-day mass leave in solidarity with private doctors agitating against the Right to Health Bill.
However, emergencies will be exempt.
The health department has directed the principals of medical colleges to ensure that medical services in OPD, IPD, ICU, emergency and maternity wards are not affected.
The government has also directed them to take action against the government doctors for being on leave voluntarily and without prior approval and cancellation of registration of resident doctors for dereliction of duty.
Private doctors are demanding withdrawal of the bill passed in the state assembly last Tuesday.
The All Rajasthan In-Service Doctors’ Association announced a one-day strike to be held on Wednesday in support of the agitating doctors.
Association’s General secretary Dr Shankar Bamnia said more than 15,000 in-service (government) doctors will go on one-day mass leave to boycott work in support of the doctors’ movement against the Right to Health Bill.
Along with them, resident doctors and faculties of the medical colleges will also boycott work.
“All doctors will be on one-day mass leave in support of the movement,” he said.
He said treatment in emergencies will not be affected.
After the bandh call by the government doctors, the medical and health department issued directions to principals of medical colleges to ensure that the services are not affected and attendance of doctors, medical teachers, paramedical staff is sent to the department by 9.30 am on Wednesday.
Joint secretary of the department Iqbal Khan issued the order and said that disciplinary action will be taken against those who boycott work.
Doctors say the Bill will increase bureaucratic interference in the functioning of private hospitals.
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”.
Dr Vijay Kapoor, secretary of private hospitals and nursing homes society, said the agitation of the private doctors continued for 11th day today.
He said the chief minister has not yet called the doctors for talks.
Dr Kapoor said that instead of spending lakhs of rupees on advertisements, he should directly talk to the agitating doctors.
Chief Secretary Usha Sharma and other senior officials of the state government held a meeting with a delegation of the agitating private hospitals on Sunday and assured them to hold 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.
The Bill was passed in accordance with per the recommendations by the select committee.
Before the bill was amended, the draft mentioned “any health care provider, establishment or facility, including private provider, establishment or facility, public health institution, health care establishment and designated health care centres, qualified”.
According to the amended Bill that was passed, “designated health care centres” mean health care centres as prescribed in the rules, which are yet to be framed.
The private doctors said their one-point demand is the bill’s withdrawal and any discussion on the points in it will be held only after the government fulfills the demand.
Health minister Parsadi Lal has already clarified that the Bill will not be withdrawn because all the suggestions given by the doctors have already been incorporated in it and hence the demand was unjustified.