Doctors' strike to hit services across state

Doctors' strike to hit services across state

Doctors and students from the Indian Medical Association (IMA) shout slogans as they stage a protest against the National Medical Commission Bill outside Nirman Bhavan in New Delhi, Monday, July 29, 2019. PTI

Outpatient and non-emergency services will be suspended in hospitals across Karnataka on Wednesday in support of the nation-wide protest called by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) against the passage of a bill by the Lok Sabha.

The National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill, which seeks to replace the Medical Council of India (MCI), was passed on Monday.

IMA state unit president Dr Annadani M Meti said all non-emergency services will be closed for 24 hours. "All hospitals under the IMA will participate in the strike. There will be a closure from 6 am on Wednesday to 6 am on Thursday. Only emergency cases will be attended to," he said.

He said the call for protest came after repeated memorandums sent to the Union government against the bill failed to bring any change.

"We have various contentions, including the fact that there is no pan India representation. We already have the Medical Council of India which is overseeing all aspects pertaining to medical education. From syllabus to exams, everything is taken care of," said Dr Meti.

He said the NMC bill proposes more bureaucratic representation and very minimal say for those from the medical fraternity.

"Those from non-medical background cannot decide the future of medical students. This will lead to the privatisation of medical education and corporatisation of hospitals. NMC is not pro-poor," he said.

The IMA has also condemned the proposal to have a bridge course for Ayush doctors which is believed to give them a lateral entry into allopathic treatment. "How can you set such dual standards? With this, only the urban masses will get access to quality treatment. It will also kill the Ayush system by giving it no room for research," said Dr Meti.

In view of the strike, the state health department has asked district health officers to ensure that government doctors are not granted leave. They have also been asked to ensure that no untoward incident takes place.

This is the second time that hospital services are being suspended in recent times. In June, the IMA had called for a nationwide strike against violence on doctors.