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OPD services in hospitals to be hit today as doctors protest National Medical Commission Bill

Services in private hospitals are likely to be hit on Tuesday as the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has told the doctors to stop service for 12 hours.

Services in private hospitals are likely to be hit on Tuesday as the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has told the doctors to stop service for 12 hours protesting a Bill that seeks to replace the Medical Council of India (MCI) with a new body. Over 30,000 private doctors from the State are expected to participate in the protest.

The doctors in the State and across the country will be suspending the routine service of the outpatient department between 6 am and 6 pm, but emergency and critical services will continue to operate normally.
“Members of all branches of the IMA will participate from the States and government doctors have also expressed their solidarity, though they won’t participate in the protest,” Dr N Muthurajan from the Tamil Nadu wing of the IMA told Express.

The National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill, which was tabled in Parliament on Friday, seeks to replace the MCI and also proposes to allow practitioners of alternative medicines, such as homoeopathy and ayurveda, to practise allopathy after completing a “bridge course”. The Bill is likely to come up for discussion in Parliament on Tuesday.

The IMA, which has been strongly opposing the move, believes that the Bill will cripple their functioning and is undemocratic in nature. It will take away the right of doctors to elect their council, said Dr Ravi Wankhedkar, the newly-appointed IMA national president.

“Unscientific mixing of systems and empowering of other practitioners through bridge courses will only pave the way for substandard doctors and substandard medical practice,” he said, suggesting that the Bill will increase quackery in the country.

A senior health official said Tamil Nadu government believed in medical reforms. However, he added that major decisions like these (Bills) should also address the State’s concerns. “Health being a State subject, one size fits all policies will not work. Starting from medical education reforms to policy reforms, it will affect the quality of the system drastically,” he said.Government doctors too have expressed support to the private hospital doctors who will go on stir.

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