Nearly 3 lakh members of Indian Medical Association (IMA) has called for 12-hour nationwide protest (6 am to 6 pm) against the Medical Commission (NMC) Bill, 2017, that aims to replace Medical Council of India (MCI).
There are reports of disruption of healthcare services from various states.
The bill also has provisions for allowing doctors under Indian systems of medicine, including Ayurveda and homeopathy, to be allowed to practice allopathy after a six-month bridge course.
The protest comes the day the bill, which aims to restructure the medical regulatory body, is expected to come up for discussion in Lok Sabha. "It is requested that all necessary measures may be taken to ensure that the patient healthcare and emergency services are run smoothly", it added. Therefore, about 3 lakh doctors from the private and government hospital of the country will be on strike today.
In Kerala, while the doctors at the state-run medical colleges chose to keep away from the Out Patient Department for an hour from 8:00 am-9:00 am and at the state-run hospitals from 9:00-10:00 am, in many private hospitals the protests would continue till 6:00 pm. Doctors protested in parts of Delhi, Tamil Nadu and Odisha, as well.
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The implementation of the new bill of the government under National Commission proposal will strengthen the medical colleges.
Meanwhile, the All India Medical Students' Association too has joined the strike call of IMA and has called for a student strike on Tuesday.
Dr Pednekar said NMC is a pro-private management bill "which will pave the way for widespread corruption". "The amendments should be in favour of doctors", Dr Bharath Kumar, president, Karnataka Medical Students and Youth Doctors Association.
Parthiv Sanghvi of Indian Medical Association says that the central government has left us with no option but to call it a "black day" in the history of medical profession.
The Bill also proposes a common entrance exam and licentiate (exit) exam which all medical graduates will have to clear to get practising licences.