KATHMANDU, May 18: An act of physical assault against health professionals or employees over issues related to medical treatment is now a punishable offense.
According to the Ordinance Relating to the Security of the Health Workers and Health Institutions (First Amendment) 2079 BS, which has been tabled in parliament for endorsement, anyone found guilty in assaulting a doctor or health professional/worker or employee shall face a three-year in jail sentence or a fine of Rs 300,000.
The new legislation prohibits vandalism or any sorts of activities aimed at physically hurting health workers or employees. Likewise, arson in a health institution will bring a jail sentence from two to five years or a fine of Rs 200,000 to Rs 500,000.
Similarly, the ordinance ensures a year-long jail sentence or a fine of Rs 100,000 against the incidence of padlocking or picketing health institutions, causing obstructions to patients from getting treatment, threatening, verbally abusing or manhandling and misbehaving with health workers or employees.
The ordinance that was authenticated by the President Bidya Devi Bhandari on May 8 was presented in the House of Representatives by Health Minister Birod Khatiwada on Tuesday. It has already been published in the National Gazette.
The government brought the ordinance in view of containing an increasing number of incidents of assault against health workers and health institutions by relatives of those who die in the course of medical treatment.