New Delhi – In protest of a right to health bill, tens of thousands of private doctors in the Indian state of Rajasthan began their weeks-long strike on Sunday. Proponents of the law believe that this action goes against the essence of medical care.
The historic bill, the first of its kind in India, was approved by the state assembly on March 21 and aims to ensure that residents of Rajasthan have equitable access to healthcare, including the right to receive emergency care and treatment at any public health facility, healthcare facility, or designated medical centre without having to pay in advance.
According to the new rules, no medical establishment, whether public or private, will be permitted to turn away a patient who is in need of emergency care, the cost of which will be covered by the local government.
However, representatives of private medical facilities have complained that the act needs to be rescinded because it left open questions about how they would be paid and what constituted a “emergency situation.”
“We demand that the government introduce the measure initially as a pilot project in public hospitals rather than private institutions. According to Dr. Sanjeev Gupta, media spokesperson for the Rajasthan branch of the Indian Medical Association, the largest organisation of healthcare professionals in the nation, the government should clean up its own institutions. The group has been backing the demonstrations.
Patients are treated by doctors, whether in Rajasthan or elsewhere in the nation. If a right to health bill is being introduced, why is there no doctor consultation given that in the state, 70% of healthcare facilities are run by the private sector? Gupta tacked on.
“This is a right to kill doctor bill, not a right to health bill.”
Over 10,000 private healthcare institutions and about 50,000 doctors are located in Rajasthan.
Ashok Gehlot, the chief minister of Rajasthan, encouraged doctors to end their strike on Saturday, saying the ongoing demonstrations were politically driven. Tens of thousands of private and public doctors protested the law on the streets of the state capital Jaipur on March 27.
“Most of the demands made by the doctors have already been met, thus those who are opposed are acting for political reasons. At the time the measure is put into effect, we will address all of the doctors’ concerns, Gehlot said during a press conference.
Several people had to seek care in neighbouring states since private health institutions were shut down throughout Rajasthan.
One of Dilip Rathod’s relatives was unwell over the weekend and had to travel to Haryana state for treatment, the professional from Rajasthan told Arab News. He referred to the plan as “excellent relief” for state residents.
“Common people find it difficult to afford the high expense of care in private hospitals. The bill “gives average people some hope that they can survive serious illness and some dignity to their lives,” he continued.
The measure has been hailed as progress for public health by Dr. Abhay of the Public Health Campaign, a national network of civil society organisations and movements fighting for health rights.
Shukla claims that no other administration in India has introduced a measure like this one. The law is an effort to support the public health system at a time when the federal government is not giving it much attention.
The bill doesn’t need to be withdrawn. In Rajasthan, 70 million people are being held hostage by doctors. That’s not right at all.
According to Prof. Rama V. Baru, a community health specialist at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, the ongoing strike has brought attention to the private sector’s focus on profits.
“It all comes down to how established the private sector is in the medical industry. They reject all forms of regulation and control. For them, the main priority is profit,” she stated.
According to Dr. Kriti Bharati, a social and child rights activist from Rajasthan, doctors are supposed to “serve the people.”
Although it’s not intended to generate a profit, doctors nonetheless try to do so, according to Bharati.
“Doctors swear to serve the public, and this should be their top priority.”We should all support the right to health law as a positive initiative to provide health services to everybody.”