Doctors' protest: In Karnataka, hundreds of private hospitals, clinics suspend OPD services in response to IMA's strike call

Bengaluru: On Monday, hundreds of private hospitals, nursing homes and clinics in Karnataka suspended out-patient services on a call given by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) to hold a daylong strike in solidarity with the doctors protesting in West Bengal. The strike had a telling effect on medical services as people struggled to get treatment in private hospitals.

 Doctors protest: In Karnataka, hundreds of private hospitals, clinics suspend OPD services in response to IMAs strike call

Several private hospitals suspended OPD services in solidarity with doctors in Bengal. Representational image. Reuters

However, government hospitals remained open following a circular by the Commissioner of Health and Family Welfare and there was a huge rush of patients at these facilities since morning.

Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy appealed to the doctors to attend to duty immediately. "Attack on doctors is condemnable; thousands of patients will be affected if doctors are on strike. Already at several hospitals, patients have faced a problem. The state government had issued a circular three days ago prohibiting the strike. Doctors should attend duty immediately," he said in a tweet posted in Kannada.

In another tweet earlier in the day, Kumaraswamy said an assault on anyone was unacceptable and requested the doctors to ensure that their protest was peaceful and did not cause any problems to patients.

The IMA did not heed state health minister SS Patil's appeal to keep the strike symbolic. "Almost all private hospitals and clinics have shut their OPD services. Emergency and pregnancy cases were being attended to," Karnataka IMA president N Dhanpal told PTI.

Prominent hospitals in Bengaluru which joined the strike included Apollo Hospitals, St John's Hospital, Narayana Hrudayalaya and Sagar Hospital, Dhanpal added.

Suresh Shastry, the joint director in the Health and Family Welfare Department, said the strike had no effect on government hospitals. Junior doctors in West Bengal are on strike since 11 June after two of their colleagues were attacked allegedly by relatives of a patient who died at the NRS Medical College and Hospital in Kolkata.

In a show of solidarity with their counterparts in Bengal, medical practitioners across the country have chosen to keep away from work.

Updated Date: Jun 17, 2019 16:24:20 IST