Government hospitals on standby as IMA calls day-long strike

The advisory has been issued to All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Lady Hardinge Medical College, Safdarjung hospital and Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital.

india Updated: Jan 01, 2018 23:33 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
New Delhi, Hindustan Times
Indian Medical Association,National Medical Commission,Private Hospitals
The Indian Medical Association has called for a 12-hour shutdown of all private hospitals in the country on Tuesday to protest the National Medical Commission Bill, 2017. (HT File Photo)

The Union health ministry issued an advisory to government hospitals on Monday to ensure hassle-free service as it suspected disruptions at private hospitals because a day-long strike called by Indian Medical Association (IMA) on Tuesday.

The IMA, which claims to have close to 300,000 members, asked healthcare establishments to keep their outpatient departments (OPDs) shut in protest against a government bill that seeks to replace the Medical Council of India (MCI).

The IMA has called the National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill, which was introduced in Parliament on Friday, “anti-people and anti-patient”. The bill is likely to be discussed in Parliament on Tuesday.

“The bill has pro-private-management clauses. The bill purported to eradicate corruption is designed to open the floodgates of corruption. A bill to regulate the medical education and medical practice without the concurrence of the medical profession will be a disaster,” IMA statement read.

In response to the strike call, the Delhi Medical Association (DMA) urged its member establishments to close their OPDs from 6am to 6 pm on Tuesday.

Over 40,000 doctors associated with the Maharashtra chapter of the IMA are likely to keep off OPDs in private hospitals.

“Two major issues of the bill are that the members of the body won’t be medical professionals but bureaucrats who will be selected by government. The bill encourages private medical colleges to mushroom in the country which will reduce the quality of medical education built over a period of time by the IMC,” said Dr Sagar Mundada, president of IMA Maharashtra’s youth wing.

The proposed shutdown is not binding on hospitals or doctors.

“The hospital will not be shutting any of its services, but the doctors have been given the option to join the protests and not attend their out-patient clinics between 9am and 2pm,” said Max Hospitals in Delhi.

A source in Delhi’s Apollo Hospital said: “There is no confirmation from doctors whether they will attend the OPDs. We will come to know by tomorrow morning. Emergency services will not be affected.”

According to a senior doctor from a private hospital in south Mumbai, not all doctors are going to join the strike.

Rupak Barua, from the AMRI group of hospitals in Kolkata, said: “In the unlikely case of any doctor staying away, we will ensure as an organisation that patients don’t suffer.”

First Published: Jan 01, 2018 21:55 IST