OPDs in public hospitals to remain shut today

Mumbai: Come Wednesday, patients in public hospitals across the country will have to brace themselves to face problems. The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has called for a 24-hour withdrawal of non-essential services from public hospitals across the country. This call has been given in protest of the Lok Sabha passed the National Medical Commission Bill, 2019.

This comes after the IMA termed the clearance of the NMC Bill 2019, by Lok Sabha as “anti-people, anti-poor, anti-students, anti-democratic and a draconian one." More than 10,000 doctors and medical students will participate in this strike.

Senior officials said, they have called for a “token” strike on July 31, urging all the doctors to participate unitedly. “We have decided to shut all outpatients departments (OPDs), wards and academic services from 6am on Wednesday and will continue till Thursday morning.

Dr Parthiv Sanghvi, former secretary, IMA said, the entire medical fraternity has opposed this bill. Only the non-essential services and OPDs will be shut, while the emergency, casualty, Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and related services will function normally.

“This is an anti-democratic bill, pro-rich in nature, which will promote quackery and increase the cost of healthcare. This will increase the cost of medical education and decrease the quality of healthcare,” he said.

The Federation of Resident Doctors Association and the Resident Doctors Association across country have asked members to wear black badges as a mark of protest. “The bill if not amended, will lower the standards in medical education and also lead to degradation of healthcare services,” said the resident doctors from the King Edward Memorial (KEM) hospital.

Dr Shantanu Sen, National President, IMA said, the term ‘Community Health Provider’ has been vaguely defined to allow anyone connected with modern medicine to be registered in NMC and be licensed to practice modern medicine. “This would include all paramedics including pharmacists, nurses, physiotherapists, optometrists and others eligible to practice modern medicine and prescribe independently. Section 32, of the NMC Bill provides for licensing of 3.5 lakh unqualified non-medical persons to practise modern medicine,” said Dr Sen.

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