OPD services closed in hospitals for third day
Kathmandu, September 24
Out-patient services in hospitals across the country remained closed for the third day today, depriving thousands of patients of essential health services.
Nepal Medical Association had decided to halt OPD services in hospitals, medical and dental colleges, nursing homes and clinics nationwide, demanding withdrawal of the September 18 Cabinet decision. Talks held between representatives of the government and NMA today to address the agitating doctors’ demands also ended inconclusively.
Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital, Patan Hospital and Bir Hospital also halted their services. “We have got a circular from the NMA asking us to shut down out-patient services,” said Tirtha Raj Bhujel, administrative officer at Patan Hospital.
Around 1,500 to 2,000 patients visit each of these hospitals every day. “I have returned home without treatment twice due to the doctors’ strike,” said Sushma Bharati, one of the patients.
“I came for a check-up as my blood sugar level was low. But as the hospital’s out-patient services remain closed I went to the emergency ward for medical advice,’ said another patient Menuka Kamatad.
With out-patient services closed in hospitals, the emergency wards are teeming with patients. “We have been sending patients needing immediate medical attention to the emergency ward,” informed Dr Ganesh Kumar Rai, director, Kanti Children’s Hospital.
Similarly, there has been a rise in the number of patients visiting Bir Hospital. Consultant physician Dr Sunil Poudyal informed that there was an increase in the number of patients visiting the hospital’s emergency ward.
NMA announced its nation-wide protest after the Cabinet directed the health ministry to draft a law requiring doctors to compensate patients or their kin if found guilty of medical negligence. NMA had given the government 72-hour ultimatum to withdraw its decision. It has also demanded a provision of ‘jail without bail’ for violence against medical practitioners. NMA said it would continue its protest its demands were met.
Meanwhile, Dr Govinda KC,an orthopaedic surgeon at TUTH, today urged the government to fufil the demands put forth by NMA.
- Closure of OPD services in hospitals hits patients hard