AP govt ratifies ordinance for doctors' protection

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Hyderabad, Dec 17 (UNI) Conceding the demand of striking doctors, the Andhra Pradesh Cabinet today ratified the promulgation of an ordinance for providing protection to doctors, nurses, medical officers and paramedical staff from attacks at all government and private hospitals in the state.

Briefing mediapersons after the cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Y S Rajsekhara Reddy here, Information and Public Relation Minister A Narayana Reddy said under the ordinance the attack on doctors by any person would be considered as 'cognizable and non-bailable' offence.

He said the assailants would undergo at least three years of imprisonment and have to pay for property damages recoverable under the Revenue Recovery Act.

Stating that the ordinance -- AP Medicare Service Persons and Medicare Service Institution (prevention of attacks) Act -- would be applicable to junior doctors, treating them as public servants, he said, the government had also decided to set up 'Grievance Redressal cell' in all government hospitals to look into the complaints of medical negligence and grievances of the people.

The state Medical and Health department would prepare the modalities for effective functioning of the grievance cells, he said, adding the highest authority of the Government Hospital would be the Chairman of the cell.

Replying to a question, Mr Reddy said the cabinet had not discussed the issue of providing weapon licenses to the doctors as urged by them to the city police officials in the wake of increasing attacks on them.

The junior doctors were demanding that the government provide protection to the doctors by promulgating an ordinance.

They had been boycotting duties in all government teaching hospitals since December 14, when a woman junior doctor and a medical officer were attacked by the relatives of a woman, who died at the Nayapool maternity government hospital.


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