Bengaluru, November 3: Nearly 5000  private hospitals across Karnataka are shut today in protest against the Private Medical Establishments (Amendment) Act which gives the state government more power to control their functioning. While doctors and medical staff have suspended services at out-patient department (OPD) for a day, emergency and ambulance services will continue to operate.

The doctors are protesting provisions like fixation of doctors fee, constituting district-level grievance committee to take action against erring hospitals in the bill. The Indian Medical Association (IMA) had asked all its members not to provide services on Friday.

The IMA and private practitioners are demanding the state government to consider the recommendations made by the committee headed by former Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court Vikramajit Sen. President of state unit of IMA said the implementation of recommendations will ensure uniform practices across the state.

“Justice Sen had said there cannot be two sets of rules for private and government hospitals. However, this bill leaves government hospitals out of the ambit of legislation meant to ensure efficient and timely treatment for patients and curb malpractices,” The Times of India quoted Rajshekar S Bellary, president, IMA Karnataka, as saying.

S Gaekwad, president of the Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association said the government hospitals should be brought under the ambit of the act. “We don’t want any price control by the government. The patient charter should be included as a guideline for all doctors and not as a law,” Gaekwad said.