Doctors hold nationwide strike against NMC bill, withdraw emergency services

Doctors hold nationwide strike against NMC bill, withdraw emergency services

Doctors' Strike Against NMC Bill Continues, Healthcare Services Affected

The resident doctors from various hospitals like All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS), Safdarjung, Ram Manohar Lohia, Lady Hardinge, GTB and Lok Nayak are protesting for the third consecutive day over the provisions of the National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill 2019.

The emergency departments and ICUs at many hospitals were managed with the help of faculty members, sponsored residents, pool officers, faculty members of other medical or surgical departments, while OPDs, radio-diagnosis and laboratory diagnosis services functioned on a "restricted basis" in some health facilities and shut at many other places.

Safdarjung Hospital's emergency services are still affected, a hospital staff said.

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"I have been asked by the ministry to inform you that if the doctors do not resume duties immediately, strong punitive action like suspension/termination of service, evacuation of hostel accommodation will be initiated against all doctors on strike", Dr Sunil Gupta, medical director at Safdarjung Hospital, said in the memorandum addressed to the hospital's Resident Doctors Association president.

PGIMER authorities has advised patients that all routine services, including OPD and elective procedure, will remain suspended till further notice. Scores of doctors at other facilities, meanwhile, continued their strike on Saturday, two days after the passage of the NMC Bill in the Rajya Sabha.

The doctors have been boycotting work and demonstrating over certain provisions of the Bill since Thursday. Doctors have been raising concerns regarding role of community health providers (CHP) vis-a-vis a trained doctors, and the NEXT (National Exit Examination). "But emergency and ICU services were not disrupted", PGIMER Association of Resident Doctors president Uttam Thakur said here.

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The bill, which seeks to replace the graft-tainted Medical Council of India (MCI) with a National Medical Commission, is slated to be tabled in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday. The doctors also question the vague term "persons connected with the modern scientific medical profession".

"While the present law enforcing agencies in the respective states fail to prevent quackery, given the judicial backlog in our country, how will the central government ensure that the community health providers will restrict to limited practice only, health and law enforcement being essentially state subjects?" the letter said. "It will infact overburden the system by having to deal with the consequences of mismanaged cases", he said. The decision were taken at a meeting of resident doctors' associations.

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