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Doctors call off strike after govt sends medical bill to standing committee

The bill called ‘anti-people and anti-patient’ seeks to replace the statutory body for medical education besides allowing practitioners of alternative medicines, such as homoeopathy and Ayurveda, to practice allopathy after completing a bridge course.

india Updated: Jan 02, 2018 23:45 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Doctors strike,Medical bill protests,Healthcare services
Relatives of patients wait outside a hospital while the doctors held a nationwide strike to protest the National Medical Commission Bill, in Patna on Tuesday. (PTI Photo)

The Indian Medical Association (IMA) on Tuesday called of its 12-hour strike after the central government sent the National Medical Commission Bill, 2017, to the Parliamentary Standing Committee for health.

Facilities at hospitals across the country were partially hit on Tuesday as thousands of doctors went on a strike to protest the bill seeking to replace the Medical Council of India with a new body.

IMA had called for a day-long shutdown of out patient department (OPD) services at all private healthcare establishments in the country, in protest against a bill that is meant to replace Medical Council of India (MCI).

The association had termed the bill “anti-people and anti-patient” as it proposes to allow practitioners of alternative medicines, such as homoeopathy and ayurveda, to practise allopathy after completing a “bridge course”. It had said the bill will “cripple” the functioning of professionals by making them answerable to the bureaucracy and non-medical administrators.

“We called off the strike after being informed that the government has agreed to our demands and sent the bill to a select committee,” said Dr KK Aggarwal, former IMA president.

While private hospitals in other states followed the IMA’s call to keep OPDs shut for 12 hours, the national capital saw a mixed response. Several big corporate hospitals, including Apollo, BLK Super Specialty and Sir Ganga Ram among dozen others, kept their OPDs operational.

Doctors, however, had the option of supporting the protest by giving their clinics a miss.

Government-run hospitals also kept their out-patient departments open. “Everything is running normally in the hospital; my staff have not taken leave for the strike. In fact, the footfall was a little higher today,” said an official from Lok Nayak hospital.

Some smaller hospitals like Maharaja Agrasen and Aakash healthcare kept their OPDs shut. Several dispensaries and small healthcare units remained shut.

“The strike was successful considering that several doctors participated even though it was called on Monday evening. It was not possible for bigger hospitals to completely shut their services as many patients might have taken prior appointments and come from different parts of the country,” said Dr Agrawal.

First Published: Jan 02, 2018 16:18 IST

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