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Indian Medical Association protest against NMC bill may hit services in private hospitals

Services at OPDs of many private hospitals may be hit by the protest, but emergency and critical services will remain open.

Published: 01st January 2018 04:42 PM  |   Last Updated: 01st January 2018 08:31 PM   |  A+A-

For representational purposes

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Out-patient department (OPD) services at many private hospitals across India are likely to get effected tomorrow as the Indian Medical Association has called for suspending routine services for 12 hours to protest the National Medical Commission Bill.

The health ministry today issued an advisory asking all hospitals under the Central government to make "necessary arrangements" to ensure that emergency and healthcare service is not hit by the one day strike call given by the IMA.

In a letter written to the hospitals health secretary Preeti Sudan has also asked them to send compliance report on the arrangements made.

IMA, the largest body of healthcare professionals that represents over 2.5 lakh doctors, is strongly opposing various provisions of the NMC Bill that was tabled in the parliament last week that seeks to replace medical education regulator Medical Council of India with a National Medical Commission.

The association members today had a meeting with J P Nadda, minister for health and family welfare but called it “unfruitful.”

“The government has come up with a pro-rich, anti- poor and anti-federalism bill to govern medical education and bulldozing an 85-year-old body (MCI) without even holding proper consultations,” said IMA president, Ravi Wankhedkar. “We therefore have no way but to resort to protest by deciding not to work tomorrow.”

“If the government manages to get the Bill cleared in the House we will hit the streets as it is totally unacceptable to us in the present form,” Wankhedkar added.

He however said that while OPD services will get hit, emergency services will function normally in hospitals tomorrow

The minister, said sources, had told the IMA members that now that the Bill is in the parliament, it was better for “country’s representatives to decide its fate.”

IMA, on the other hand, has been opposing the NMC bill saying it will "cripple" the functioning of medical professionals by making them completely answerable to the bureaucracy and non-medical administrators,has declared tomorrow a "Black Day".

The Association has also written a letter to the Prime Minister urging that the Bill be redrafted and several provisions be rectified to protect the interest of the medical practitioners.

IMA, in particular is opposed to the fact that the proposed 25- member Commission will be dominated by the nominated and ex-officio members as opposed to the MCI which mostly has elected members voted directly by doctors.

The body is also opposing the proposed licentiate or exit examination that every MBBS graduate will have to clear in order to get registration number to practice or to enrol for post-graduate programmes.

The association has also raised objections to the fact that the Bill has a provision for letting private medical colleges fix their fee (government can fix fee in 40 per cent of the seats) and add new seats on their own. It has also raised its eyebrows over the short-term “Bridge Course” that will allow practitioners of homeopathy and other traditional medicines to practice modern medicine, saying its like “legalising quackery.”

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