Physical assault against health professionals punishable by law

File – Minister for Health and Population Birodh Khatiwada speaks during an interview with the Associated press in Kathmandu, on Wednesday, November 10, 2021. Photo: AP via RSS

KATHMANDU: An act of physically assaulting health professional or employee over medical treatment issue is now a punishable offence.

According to the Ordinance relating to the Security of the Health Workers and Health Institutions (First Amendment) 2079 BS, anyone found guilty of assaulting a doctor or health professional/worker or employees will face a three-year jail sentence or a fine of Rs 300 thousand.

The decree prohibits vandalism or any sort of activities capable of physically hurting health workers or employees. Likewise, arson in a health institution demands a jail sentence from two to five years or a fine of Rs 200 thousand to Rs 500 thousand against the guilty.

Similarly, the ordinance ensures a year-long jail sentence or a fine of Rs 100 thousand against the incidence of padlocking or picketing health institutions, causing obstructions to patients from getting treatment, threatening, verbally abusing or manhandling and misbehaving with health workers or employees.

The ordinance that was authenticated by President Bidya Devi Bhandari on May 8 was presented in the House of Representatives by Health Minister Birodh Khatiwada on Tuesday. It has been already published in the National Gazette.  The government brought the ordinance bearing in mind increasing incidences of assault against health workers and health institutions over deaths of patients by their relatives.

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