NEW DELHI: Doctors across the country went on a 24-hour medical strike from 6 am on Wednesday, withdrawing all non-essential services. However, the emergency, casualty, intensive care unit (ICU) and related services will function normally. The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has called for the strike in protest against the passage of National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill, 2019, in the Lok Sabha.
Public demonstrations against the Bill will take place across the country. Few doctors are also likely to go on hunger strikes, said the IMA.
“The Lok Sabha has approved and passed the draconian NMC Bill yesterday. The democratic lower house has dumped healthcare and medical education of this country into darkness by approving the undemocratic National Medical Commission Bill 2019. IMA HQ calls for 24 hours withdrawal of non essential services on Wednesday 31.07.2019 in protest,” the association said on its website.
“The emergency Action Committee reviewed the situation yesterday night. It has been decided to call for 24 hours withdrawal of non essential services across the nation by modern medicine doctors from 6 am on Wednesday, 31.07.2019 till 6 am the next day ie. Thursday, 01.08.2019,” it added.
IMA National President and Rajya Sabha MP Dr Santanu Sen tweeted, “IMA rejects the NMC Bill in toto and calls for 24 hours withdrawals of non essential services on Wednesday 31-07-19, as protest against the passage of NMC Bill.”
IMA rejects the NMC Bill in toto
and calls for 24 hours withdrawals of non essential services on Wednesday 31-07-19, as protest against the passage of NMC Bill. #RajyaSabha #NMCBill #doctors #AIIMS @IndianMedAssn #Medical @drharshvardhan @fskulaste pic.twitter.com/EdH3sZsoY5
— DR SANTANU SEN (@SantanuSenMP) July 30, 2019
The Lok Sabha passed the NMC Bill on Monday. It seeks to create the National Medical Commission (NMC) in place of the Medical Council of India (MCI). The Bill was passed with 260 members voting in its favour and 48 against it. It also proposes a common final-year MBBS examination, known as National Exit Test (NEXT), for admission to post-graduate medical courses and for obtaining a licence to practice medicine. Besides this, the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET), common counselling and NEXT would be applicable to institutes of national importance like AIIMS in order to achieve a common standard in medical education in the country.
Doctors claim that the Bill will give a boost to quacks and intensify quackery and unverified practitioners in the rural areas.
Calling for a complete rejection of the NMC Bill 2019, the IMA said, “Section 32 of the NMC Bill provides for licensing of 3.5 lakhs unqualified non medical persons to practise modern medicine. The term Community Health Provider has been vaguely defined to allow anyone connected with modern medicine to get registered in NMC and be licensed to practise modern medicine. This means persons without medical background are becoming eligible to practise modern medicine and prescribe independently. This law legalises quackery."
“This provision and the other controversial provisions can never be accepted by the medical fraternity of the country. The mess created by the Bill regarding the examinations affecting the career of generations of medical students can not be condoned. The numerous other inconsistencies in the Bill will seriously affect the Health of the nation,” it added.
“The struggle to redeem the Health of the nation is our privilege and sacred duty. We will never allow licensing unqualified non medical persons to kill our patients. We will never allow our mothers and children to die in thousands forever due to this Black Law,” said the IMA.