Indian Medical Association calls for 12-hour nationwide strike

Hospital Services May Be Hit Tomorrow Due To Protest Over New Medical Law

Bill, which was tabled at the Indian parliament last week, is likely to come up for discussion on Tuesday. Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan has directed the panel to file its report before the Budget session.

In Kerala, while the doctors at the state-run medical colleges made a decision 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.

Emergency services at government hospitals were not affected.

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The Union Health Ministry in response to the doctor's strike has written to all Centre-run hospitals, including Safdarjung, Ram Manohar Lohia, AIIMS and Lady Hardinge Medical College to make arrangements so that patient care and emergency services can be run smoothly.

The new National Medical Council will create four autonomous boards - UGME (Undergraduate Medical Education Board), PGME (Postgraduate Medical Education Board), MAR (Medical Assessment and Rating) Board and EMR (Ethics and Medical Registration) Board. "The National Medical Commission will be a regulator appointed by the administrators under their direct control", Agarwal said. The NMC Bill also proposes to allow graduates of alternative medicine fields to practice allopathic medicine after completing a "bridge course".

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.

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IMA President expressed his apprehension that the bill will increase corruption in medical education and will push up cost of medical education very high while standard of medical education will fall definitely.

Meanwhile, Indian Medical Association (IMA) president Dr K K Agarwal has, on Tuesday, appealed to the Prime Minister to revise the draft bill in the larger interest of the medical profession.

The commission will have a government-nominated chairman and members, and the board members will be selected by a search committee under the Cabinet Secretary, it says.

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"The bill in the present form is not acceptable".

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