OPD Doctors on 12-Hour Strike Against National Medical Commission Bill

Medical association calls for suspension of private healthcare services across India on Tuesday

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The outpatient departments at all hospitals will be shut for 12 hours as a sign of protest against the NMC bill, which the doctors opine is more draconian in nature than the recently suggested Karnataka Private Medical Establishment Bill. Emergency and critical care services will, however, function.

The Bill provides for constitution of four autonomous boards for undergraduate and post-graduate education, assessment and accreditation of medical institutions and registration of practitioners under the National Medical Commission.

Ananth Kumar, Union Minister in Lok Sabha said the bill will be sent to a standing committee.

3 lakh doctors went on strike today across the nation. The Ministry has also sought a compliance report from the hospitals. The new National Commission Bill includes the bridge course proposal which would enable alternative medicine practitioners to practise allopathy from medical universities which is equal to MBBS course. "Moreover the new norms will allow any foreign doctor to practice in India without any restriction as it does away with the screening test for foreign medical graduates", he said.

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"We have been forced to protest as we have no other option", said Indian Medical Association official N Sulphi. The IMA has called for a one-day strike against the bill today.

Clause 49 of the Bill calls for a joint sitting of the National Medical Commission, the Central Council of Homoeopathy and the Central Council of Indian Medicine at least once a year "to enhance the interface between homoeopathy, Indian Systems of Medicine and modern systems of medicine". "We have heard them and also presented our views". The doctors are opposing this new NMC bill, said that the passing of this bill will be the black day in the medical history. Senior doctors from IMA are protesting another proposal of NMC which allows unrestricted fee in 60 per cent of medical seats in private medical colleges.

The IMA statement said the Bill bestows such widespread power to the Board that it was liable to be misused.

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