Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot should listen to protesting doctors as patients in the entire state are getting hassled due to protests over the Right to Health Bill, said Congress leader Sachin Pilot. Medical services continued to remain affected in parts of Rajasthan after government doctors joined the strike with private doctors against the Bill.
Former Deputy CM Sachin Pilot met the protesting doctors in Jaipur on Thursday and said, “The Ashok Gehlot government should listen to protesting doctors. Patients in the entire state are getting hassled.”
Private doctors in Rajasthan have taken to the streets and have been demanding the withdrawal of the Right to Health (RTH) 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 advance payment at any public health institution, healthcare establishment or designated healthcare centres.
Private hospitals and doctors have been opposing certain provisions in the RTH bill, such as that patients in an emergency should get treatment without prior payment of necessary fees or charges. The doctors said they have not mentioned what ‘emergency’ means.
On Wednesday, government doctors went on a one-day strike in solidarity with agitating private prtactitioners. 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.
Amid raging protests, the state government has warned of disciplinary action against government doctors for going on leave without approval, news agency PTI reported. As a result, some of the doctors returned to work after boycotting work for two hours in Alwar, Bharatpur, Udaipur and Dungarpur.
A few days back, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot again appealed to the doctors to withdraw their strike, saying it was not in public interest.
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 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However, the doctors were adamant and said any discussion would be possible only after the Bill was withdrawn.
The provisions of the RTH law would force all private health institutions, even small clinics run by a doctor, to invest in infrastructure to take care of emergency cases along with ambulance facilities.