Doctors in Kerala today went on a strike to protest the Centre's proposed National Medical Commission Bill, causing vast hardship to those visiting hospitals across the state. Certain provisions of the NMC like allowing practitioners of Indian medicine like Ayurveda and Homeopathy to practice Allopathy after completing a bridge course.
Dr Bhupendra Shah, president of the IMA Gujarat Branch said that in its present form, the NMC is a pro private management and pro-rich bill that will pave the way for widespread corruption. As per the reports, the government is bringing up the new bill today.
OPD (Out-Patient Department) services of private hospitals are likely to be hit, although emergency and critical services will remain open.
Tandon also said: "The current MCI is a democratically elected body where we have almost 80 percent elected members and 20 percent nominated by the government".
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Emergency services at government hospitals were not affected. Senior doctors from IMA are protesting another proposal of NMC which allows unrestricted fee in 60 per cent of medical seats in private medical colleges.
The bridge course will be decided upon at a meeting between the proposed National Medical Commission, the Central Council of Homoeopathy and the Central Council of Indian Medicine. The Bill was tabled in the Lok Sabha last week. Dr Kumar said a six-month bridge course for AYUSH professionals can not be equated to four years of medical education. The IMA has opposed the bill saying it will "cripple" medical professionals' functioning by making them answerable to the bureaucracy and non-medical administrators.
However, the Indian Medical Association has labelled NMC bill as anti-poor and anti-people. "Abolishing a democratic institution and replacing it with a body in which a majority is nominated by the government, is certainly a retrograde step", Dr K K Aggarwal said.