On Monday, about 25,000-odd doctors from Mumbai will join a one-day nation-wide bandh to protest against the Clinical Establishments Bill, which lays minimum standards on infrastructure and staff in hospitals, nursing homes and clinics.
Officials of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) that is organising the bandh, said public and major private hospitals will be functional while nursing homes and single doctor run clinics will be shut, affecting primary care treatment. However, emergency services will not be affected.
"Only the outpatient department will remain shut. In case of emergency, our doctors will attend to patients," said Dr Jayesh Lele, honorary secretary, IMA, Maharashtra.
In Mumbai, about 1,600 nursing homes are run by doctors who are IMA members.
Additionally, about 30,000 doctors from all over the state will join the protest.
"The Bill will escalate the cost of health care. To meet the criteria of the Bill, we need certain infrastructure, the cost of which will ultimately be borne by the patient," said Dr Shivkumar Utture, financial secretary, IMA, Maharashtra.
The Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors has also pledged their support to IMA.
The doctors are also protesting against the proposed National Commission for Human Resources for Health Bill, 2011, claiming that the powers of the Medical Council of India, the Dental Council of India and the Nursing Council of India will get diluted.
"The Bill wants to hand over the powers of these councils in the hands of bureaucrats who do not even have a medical background," said Dr Utture. They will wear black badges as a mark of protest against the two Bills.