Around 6,000 resident doctors went on strike on Wednesday against the Right to Health Bill passed in the Rajasthan Assembly recently, crippling healthcare services at hospitals, including the SMS Hospital.
While operations were reportedly postponed, patients were seen writhing in pain on stretchers. A senior doctor at the SMS Medical College here said that all the faculty members were posted in the OPD where there was a big crowd.
In case of emergency, treatment was given on the spot after which the patients were shifted to the wards. Nursing staff and interns were also engaged in emergency services. The work pressure was very high in the absence of resident doctors.
Meanwhile, many doctors had gathered outside the SMS Medical College, protesting against the Bill by burning copies of their registration, marksheet and the Right to Health Bill.
State Health Minister Parsadilal Meena had on Tuesday targeted private hospitals in his reply to the debate on the Bill in the Assembly.
Meena had said, "If the poor are not treated, no matter how big someone is, we will take action. Doctors should not try to scare the government. Movements are not prohibited but doctors should follow their religion first, which is to treat the needy."
The Right to Health Bill passed on Tuesday says that every person in Rajasthan will get emergency medical service without any pre-payment, including at private establishments.
Healthcare services available at all government hospitals will be available free of cost to every person, which will include OPD and IPD services, doctors' advice, medicines, investigations, ambulance in case of emergency etc.
Those injured in road accidents will have the right to free transport (ambulance), treatment and insurance, as per the prescribed rules.
It also says that emergency treatment will be available in any accidental case without prior payment of requisite fees or charges in private and government hospitals. These accidental cases inlude snake bite, animal bite, apart from the emergency decided by the state health authority.
After treatment, if the patient cannot pay the prescribed fees or charges to the medical institutions, the state government will reimburse the same.
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