Doctors call off protest after deal with government

Published On: September 29, 2017 08:30 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Sept 29: The doctors have called off their protests after a four-point agreement was reached between the Nepal Medical Association (NMA) and the government sides today. 

The agreement was reached in the witness of Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba. 

The doctors had closed the OPD services except emergency at the hospitals across the country at the call of the NMA in protest against a provision included in the Act related to the security of doctors, health professionals and health institutions. 

As per the provision incorporated in the Act, the doctors are required to compensate the victims and their family members in case of the death or damage to the health of the patient due to the doctor's negligence. 

A discussion between NMA representatives and the Council of Ministers at the Cabinet meeting on September 18 on the issue of revising the Act could not sort out the NMA's demand of 'jail without bail' meaning that anyone manhandling the health professionals and vandalizing the health institutions in case of the suspected death due to doctors' negligence should be detained and taken into custody without bail, until investigation into the 'suspected death due to doctors' negligence' is fully investigated. 

The NMA had protested the provision stating that it would make them insecure in their profession. 

Spokesman at the Ministry of Health, Dr Shree Krishna Giri said that it has been agreed to amend the Act Related to Security of Health Institution and Health Professionals, 2066 BS through consensus between NMA and the government. 

NMA withdrew its protest programmes after the government made a written commitment to guarantee the security to the health professionals and health institutions. 

The agreement states that a five-member taskforce comprising specialists and the side concerned would be constituted within seven days under the coordination of the chief specialist for updating the responsibilities and performance of the doctors and health professionals, and the salary and facilities commensurate to that as well as for making the entire health service delivery effective. The task force will submit its report with recommendations within one month. 

Likewise, the agreement states that letters would be written to the Ministry of Finance and the National Planning Commission for removing the five per cent health tax. It also mentions that the public health service period would be extended and made 65 years for bringing quality in the medical service, that arrangements would be made so that the people would get health services with the maximum utilization of the technical knowledge and skills. 

The Health Ministry spokesman said the agreement also contains a clause which states that the Secretary of the Ministry of Health in the federal civil service should be appointed from among the medical doctors only. 

The talks were held at the Prime Minister's official residence at Baluwatar. Secretary at the Ministry of Health Dr Kiran Regmi and NMA president Dr Muktiram Shrestha have signed on the agreement.(RSS)

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