PGI doctors to boycott work today onwards in protest against NMC Bill
Intensifying their protest against the National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill, resident doctors at the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) have decided to withdraw all non-essential services for an indefinite period, starting Saturday.
Services at Government Multi-Specialty Hospital, Sector 16, and Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, will remain unaffected.
“To protest against the NMC Bill, resident doctors will withdraw all hospital services from 8am on Saturday. But, emergency and ICU services will not be disrupted,” said Dr Uttam Thakur, president, PGIMER Association of Resident Doctors (ARD).
An official spokesperson said as elective services will be suspended, patients were advised to plan their visit to the hospital accordingly.
Meanwhile, PGIMER administration has appealed to the hospital’s faculty members to remain present for duty.
“The faculty, nurses and technologists will render patient care in all emergency areas and wards, while elective services will be suspended. Faculty members will look after the around 2,500 patients admitted in the hospital,” Dr Jagat Ram, director, PGIMER, said.
Dr Thakur said they had delayed the strike till the Bill was placed in the Rajya Sabha. But, after it was passed there as well, they had no other option but to proceed with a strike. “We don’t want the patients to suffer, but the controversial provisions of the NMC Bill are forcing us to protest,” he added.
Bone of contention
Standing by the agitating doctors and medical students across the country, the association has demanded amendments in certain provisions of the Bill, which was passed by the Rajya Sabha on Thursday.
The NMC Bill seeks to replace the corruption-plagued Medical Council of India (MCI) with the medical commission. It also proposes a common final-year MBBS examination, to be known as National Exit Test (NEXT), for admission to post-graduate medical courses and for obtaining a licence to practice medicine.
Besides, it will decrease the representation of elected members from 75% in MCI to 20% in NMC.
According to the protesting doctors, the Bill empowers the central government to override any suggestion of the NMC, and will lead to deterioration of medical education and degradation of healthcare services.