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IMA calls for 12-hour shutdown of private hospitals over NMC Bill

Indian Medical Association (IMA)New Delhi : The Indian Medical Association (IMA) on Monday called for a 12-hour shutdown of all private hospitals in the country on Tuesday to protest the “anti-people and anti-patient” National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill, 2017, that seeks to replace the Medical Council of India (MCI).

The IMA has 2.77 lakh members, which includes Corporate Hospitals, Poly clinics and Nursing homes, across the country.

The demand comes after a delegation of the IMA led by President K.K. Aggarwal and its national president Ravi Wankhede met Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare J.P Nadda, seeking strict amendments in the Bill that was tabled in the Lok Sabha on Friday.

“IMA strongly opposes this Bill and has no option but to take the issues to our patients and the people. We have called for 12-hour shutdown of our member hospitals and health institutions tomorrow (January 2) during which the routine medical services like OPD and elective surgeries across the country will be withdrawn between 6 a.m.-6 p.m.,” Wankhede told IANS.

Asked about the response from the member hospitals on the call for shutdown, Wankhede said: “We have received tremendous response and all of the IMA member hospitals will follow our call.”

IMA, which is not a statutory body, has been opposing the Bill to set up the NMC ever since it received the union cabinet clearance earlier last month, and has demanded amendments in it.

Terming the Bill as “anti-people and anti-patient”, the association in a statement has stated that the Bill purported to eradicate corruption is “designed to open the floodgates of corruption”.

“NMC is an anti-poor bill with pro-private management clauses. A bill to regulate the medical education and medical practice without the concurrence of the medical profession will be a disaster,” said a statement from the association, issued after the delegation met the Union Health Minister.

The bill also has provisions for granting permission to the doctors under Indian systems of medicine, including Ayurveda, to be allowed to practice allopathy after clearing a bridge course.

“Unscientific mixing of systems and empowering of other practitioners through bridge courses will only pave the way for substandard doctors and substandard medical practice. This will seriously impact patient care and patient safety,” said the association in the statement.

It added: “If these practitioners are proposed to be posted in villages, then there is a serious case of discrimination dividing the urban and rural people. Indian doctors with their pristine recognition in international arena will lose their stature and demand.”

IMA has four demands — One elected representative in NMC from the Registered Medical Graduates of every state and no separate registration for AYUSH.

“The minimum qualification to practice modern medicine shall remain MBBS. No bridge courses to MBBS. No Joint Council meetings to formulate them. IMA will facilitate the deployment of 65,000 fresh MBBS graduates graduating every year in Rural Health Services with appropriate working conditions and incentives,” said the statement.

“No licentiate exam after final MBBS examination. IMA proposes common All India Final MBBS examination. Legitimate inspection and appropriate regulation on starting and running a Medical College. 85 per cent Government fixed fees in private Medical Colleges,” said the statement.

—IANS

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