Rajasthan doctors continue stir over Right To Health Bill; talks with govt fail

The doctors are demanding full roll back of the Bill, while the government wants the doctors to discuss their objections “point by point”

Rajasthan, doctor's strike, Right To Health Bill
Private hospitals and doctors in Rajasthan are protesting against the meaning of ‘emergency’ treatment in the bill | PTI Photo

There is no end in sight for the ongoing doctor’s strike over the Right To Health (RTH) Bill in Rajasthan. On Sunday, the meeting between the state government and agitating private doctors and state government failed to resolve the issue, following which the doctors decided to continue with their strike.

After the failed meeting, doctors also threatened to intensify their stir in the coming days.

The doctors are demanding full roll back of the Bill, while the government wants the doctors to tell their objections to the bill “point by point”.

Also read: Rajasthan: Why private doctors are protesting against Right to Health Bill

No meeting ground

A doctors’ delegation met the government team headed by Rajasthan chief secretary Usha Sharma. From the doctors’ side were Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes Society (PHNHS) secretary Dr Vijay Kapoor, Indian Medical Association’s representative Dr Ashok Sharda and Jaipur Association of Resident Doctors’ spokesperson Dr Chitresh Shekhawat along with representatives of other doctors’ associations.

Usha Sharma said that the bill was introduced to further strengthen the rights of the people of the state towards their health. She assured the doctor’s delegation that detailed discussion will be held on their suggestions.

“We have only one line agenda, which is roll back the RTH bill. We communicated it to the government representatives. In very strong terms, we do not want RTH bill and if it is not withdrawn the protest will be intensified in the state,” The Times of India quoted Dr Kapoor as saying.

State Chief minister Ashok Gehlot had earlier appealed to the agitating doctors to end the over week-long strike so that the patients don’t suffer.

The Bill in question

In assembly session in September, the state government had introduced the ‘Rajasthan Right to Health Bill’ to establish legal rights and entitlement of citizens to avail the best of health services. It was sent to the select committee.

As per PRS Legislative Research, an Indian non-profit organisation, the bill provides the right to health and access to healthcare for people in the state. This includes free health care services at any clinical establishment to residents of the state.

Also read: Rajasthan’s Right to Health Bill: What it entails and why docs are protesting

Private hospitals and doctors are protesting against the meaning of ‘emergency’ treatment in the bill. According to the bill, treatment to patients in emergency would be given without prior payment.

The doctors are asking how exactly ’emergency’ will be defined, saying that every patient will come for free treatment citing emergencies. Expressing apprehensions over the bill, they asked to know how they would get paid.