Why 50,000+ Doctors in Rajasthan are on strike since 15 days?

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Doctors are protesting in Rajasthan to demand the withdrawal of the medical bill – Right to Health, passed in the state assembly. They are adamant that any discussion on the bill will only be held after the withdrawal of the bill. On the other hand, the government has given no sign of backing out from the bill. Rajasthan is home to almost 10,000 private healthcare facilities and around 50,000 doctors.

What is the new law – Right to health law in Rajasthan?

The Right to health bill states that 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 centers”. Under the new regulations, no medical facility, whether private or public, will be allowed to refuse a person seeking emergency treatment, the cost of which will be borne by the regional government.

Why doctors are on strike?

The doctors want that this bill – Right to health should be withdrawn. One of the prime concerns of the protesting doctors is that the bill will increase bureaucratic interference in the functioning of private hospitals. Representatives of private medical facilities have said the bill was unclear on how they would be compensated and what constituted an “emergency condition,” among other concerns, and they have demanded the legislation be withdrawn. Doctors also fear that it will lead to decrease in their earnings.

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“We demand that the government should first introduce the bill in the public-sector hospitals as a pilot project, not in private hospitals. The government should tidy up its own hospitals,” Dr. Sanjeev Gupta, media spokesperson for the Rajasthan chapter of the Indian Medical Association, the country’s largest association of medical workers, said. The association has been supporting the protests.

Government’s response

In a bid to calm the agitating doctor’s, senior officials including Rajasthan Chief Secretary Usha Sharma met with a delegation of the private hospitals on Sunday. The protesting doctors were assured that their suggestions regarding the bill will be discussed. But the doctors demand the withdrawal of the Right to Health bill and have said that any discussion would only be possible if the bill is taken back.

“We have already acceded to most of the demands of the doctors and those who are opposing are politically motivated. We will address all the concerns of doctors at the time of the implementation of the bill,” Gehlot told a press conference.

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Rajasthan human rights body

The Rajasthan State Human Rights Commission has issued notices to the Principal Secretary (Medical and Health) and Registrar (Rajasthan Medical Council) on Wednesday seeking a reply on what action is being taken against the striking doctors in the state.

The notice states that the act of the doctors is a violation of their oath and an infringement of their moral duty and the “commission cannot stand as a dumb spectator of this abuse of human rights”.

The notices have been served under Rajasthan Medical Act 1952 and Rajasthan Medical Rules 1957 and a detailed factual report has been sought on the next date of hearing.

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Opinion

The private medical facilities are not-regulated right now and they charge a lot from patients. Thus, there is urgent need of a good medical law in order to regulate the private hospitals.

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