Hyderabad: IMA gives strike call to private hospitals against NMC

Doctors in Mumbai to protest against NMC bill on January 2 marking it a black day

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Government doctors in Tamil Nadu will boycott outpatient services in hospitals across the state for an hour tomorrow to protest the Centre's National Medical Commission Bill.

Besides other provisions, the bill also seeks to allow practitioners of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy, to practice modern medicine once they complete a short term "bridge" course. However, medicos are demanding the formation of panel as under the existing Medical Council of India that has only medical doctors as council members.

Medical practitioners from the city are geared up for another protest to show solidarity with the nationwide bandh called by the Indian Medical Association to protest against the National Medical Council Amendment Act. According to Section 26 (1)(b) of the Bill, permission to start medical colleges/PG/superspeciality courses or increase seats in MBBS/PG/superspeciality courses will be directly granted by the Medical Assessment and Rating Board, which will have three members nominated by the central government.

Dr Bhupendra Shah, president of the IMA Gujarat Branch said that in its present form, the NMC is a pro private management and pro-rich bill that will pave the way for widespread corruption.

The doctors, who will observe Tuesday as a "black day", say that the Bill promotes crosspathy (those who have studied alternate medicine practicing allopathy), eases procedures for private medical colleges and will be dominated by the government. It will take away the right of doctors to elect their council, said Dr Ravi Wankhedkar, the newly-appointed IMA national president. There will be five elected and 12 ex-officio members in the panel.

Introducing the Bill, Health Minister J P Nadda said it incorporates suggestions made by a standing committee.

"Since the strike may involve a large number of medical professionals, it is anticipated there would be inconvenience to patient-care services in the hospitals", Gayatri Mishra, joint secretary in the health ministry, wrote in the note.

He said the bill should be submitted before the selection committee for scrutiny. Most hospital authorities said it would depend on the doctors whether to come to the hospital or not.

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