Indonesian doctors, nurses protest offered changes to healthcare laws

June 6, 2023 : Hundreds of Indonesian physicians and nurses on Monday encouraged lawmakers to halt discussions on proposed modifications to healthcare laws that they said would weaken protections for medical practitioners.

Indonesia’s parliament in February suggested a host of revisions to current healthcare laws, including making it more comfortable for patients to bring criminal indictments against healthcare workers for malpractice and permitting foreign talent to make up for staff shortages in the Southeast Asian nation.

The government has expressed the revisions are necessary to streamline the current regulations. A health ministry spokesperson, Siti Nadia Tarmizi, told the new law aims to enhance services in the middle-income nation.

But at least five unions have presented concerns, arguing health workers could be wrong.

“Our worries are about legal certainty and protection,” expressed Indonesia Medical Association chief Mohammad Adib Khumaidi, who entered the protest outside parliament on Monday. The head of the dentists’ union, Usman Sumantri, questioned whether norms were in place to ensure that foreign doctors would enhance the level of care in Indonesia, which already needs more health employees, especially specialists.

“We ought to consider whether this could negatively impact Indonesian employees,” he told.

It is still being determined when parliament will finalize the law.