March 4, 2024

Private doctors call off strike as Rajasthan government agrees to their key demands

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NEW DELHI: Private doctors in Rajasthan on Tuesday ended their 17-day strike over the Right to Health Bill after the state government agreed to their key demands including keeping unaided private hospitals outside the ambit of the proposed law.

The doctors’ bodies said that the two sides reached consensus during talks with the state government agreeing to keep private hospitals that have not availed land at subsidised rates or other benefits from it outside the ambit of the proposed law.

Besides, in the first phase of implementing the proposed law, private multi-speciality hospitals with less than 50 beds will be kept out of its purview, according to the agreement. Among other provisions, the recently passed Bill allows people to get emergency treatment from all government and designated private hospitals without payment. The government is expected to reimburse the private hospital for this.

”An agreement with the government has been made. Private hospitals that have not taken subsidy from the government have been exempted from the new law. We have converted our rally into a ‘Vijay Rally’,” said Dr Vijay Kapoor, Secretary of Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes Society (PHNHS). ”We decided to end our strike at a general body meeting called after the talks with the government,” Kapoor said. Expressing happiness over the development, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said Rajasthan will become the first state in the country to implement ‘Right to Health’.

”It is a matter of happiness that a consensus to the proposal placed before the doctors regarding the Right to Health Bill by the state government has been arrived at. With this, Rajasthan will become the first state in the country to implement ‘Right to Health’,” Gehlot said in a statement.

Earlier, a delegation of doctors, including those from the Indian Medical Association (IMA), the United Private Clinics and Hospitals Association of Rajasthan(UPCHAR) and PHNHS held talks with the government and signed a memorandum on eight points.

The doctors said their major demand that private hospitals that have not taken any benefit from the government in the form of land or buildings at subsidised rates should be kept outside the ambit of the RTH Bill has been accepted. According to the agreement, this law will be applicable to all private medical colleges and hospitals, hospitals operating on public-private partnership (PPP) model, hospitals with land allotment at free or subsidised rates, hospitals run by trusts that have received plots at subsidised rates. It was also agreed that regularization of hospitals running at different places of the state according to the ”quota model” would be considered. Under the quota model, consideration will be given to regularize the buildings of those hospitals, which are running in residential premises, by providing relaxation in the rules.

According to the agreement, the police and other cases registered during the agitation will be withdrawn. Besides, consideration will be given to bringing a ‘single window system’ for issuing licences and other approvals to private hospitals. Also, it was agreed that future changes in the rules related to the Right to Health law would be done in consultation with the representatives of IMA.

Chief Minister Gehlot said that all the people of the state cooperated with the state government in favour of this Bill. ”Now, it is a good sign that doctors have also agreed to this important Bill,” he said. Gehlot expressed hope that government and private hospitals together will make schemes like Right to Health, Chief Minister Chiranjeevi Health Insurance Scheme and RGHS successful. He also expressed confidence that the way private and government hospitals have set an example by managing Covid well, they will successfully implement these schemes on the ground and present the “Rajasthan Model of Public Health”.

Congress general secretary (communications) Jairam Ramesh took to Twitter to comment on the development in Rajasthan. ”The Chiranjeevi Health Insurance Scheme of the Government of Rajasthan is a model for the whole country. Now Right to Health is a legal right. This is another transformative step, making Rajasthan an example for the country. This is the result of the Bharat Jodo Yatra,” Ramesh said.

Source: Press Trust of India

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