Clinics and private hospitals were closed in Punjab on Tuesday as around 10,000 doctors launched a protest under the banner of the Punjab chapter of IMA, demanding rollback of the Punjab Clinical Establishment (Registration and Regulation) Ordinance, 2020.
Terming the ordinance “anti-doctor” and “anti-public”, the protesters claimed the government was trying to control the private healthcare sector with this.
“Around 10,000 doctors in Punjab observed complete bandh in the state. All facilities are closed,” said Rakesh Wig, chairman of the joint action committee of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) Punjab branch.
The Punjab government had last month notified the Punjab Clinical Establishment (Registration and Regulation) Ordinance, 2020 and it would be applicable to clinical establishments having more than 50 beds.
It provides for registration and regulation of clinical establishments to ensure compliance with clinical standards and protocols, and transparency in the functioning of these establishments for fair and proper delivery of health services to the common man, the government had then claimed.
The ordinance will come into force on July 1, the doctors said.
The agitating doctors said there was no need for this law as they were already regulated by the Punjab Medical Council and other laws.
“What was the compulsion of bringing this law? On one side, we are helping the state government in fighting COVID -19 and on the other hand, it is bringing such a law,” said Wig.
The doctors further claimed that with this law, there would be unnecessary interference of the government in private hospitals. “The government wants to control us by proxy,” one of them said.
“This law will promote 'Inspector Raj' and corruption,” Wig added.
The protesters also said treatment costs would go up with the implementation of this law. They claimed that they catered to 70 per cent of the state’s population.
Instead of imposing such a law, the government should focus on improving healthcare facilities in government-owned hospitals, the doctors said, demanding the ordinance be rolled back.