Health services resume as doctors return to workDoctors across the country resumed work on Tuesday, while resorting to symbolic protests, including wearing helmets during treatment.
Doctors across the country resumed work on Tuesday, while resorting to symbolic protests, including wearing helmets during treatment.
Eleven doctors’ associations had been objecting to the agreements forged by the Nepal Medical Association (NMA) with the government last week, saying that the umbrella organisation of doctors had ‘betrayed’ them.
On September 29, the NMA had agreed to withdraw their protest after Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba expressed his commitment to address all their demands.
In a joint statement on Tuesday, the associations have said that the agreement with the government does not clearly address the issue of ‘Jail without Bail’ while failing to provide a clear outline on revision of salary and incentives of the doctors.
The associations have put forth three-point demand—to scrap the deal to increase the retirement age to 65, to make doctors under 40 a compulsory part of the policy and laws formulation committee to implement the agreements and to strictly implement of the ‘Jail without Bail’ provision. The associations include Doctors’ Society of Nepal; Government Doctors’ Association of Nepal (GoDAN) and National Doctors’ Association of Nepal, among others.
President of GoDAN Dr Dipendra Pandey said they decided to resume the services but their protest would continue in different forms. “We will create pressure on the concerned agencies through our other creative forms of protest,” said Dr Pandey, adding that they had urged association members to wear helmets to symbolise security threats they have been facing in health institutions.
The doctors had been protesting against the Cabinet decision of September 18 that had proposed a law which requires the attending physician to pay compensation for harms on patients if investigations reveal the doctor’s negligence in the course of treatment.
The agitating doctors have been demanding that the “Jail without Bail” should be implemented immediately so that doctors across the country can deliver services without fear.
The jail without bail is a provision which provides an instant arrest of miscreants who manhandle doctors or vandalise hospital properties. The person or group will not be released until and unless the court decides on the matter. This provision, the NMA and its associated organisations claim, will discourage vandalism of hospitals while patients can go to concerned authorities to seek legal remedy if they are not satisfied with the treatment.