Medicos protest government appointed regulatory agency for medical education. All medical and diagnostic services stop barring emergency procedures

All medical and diagnostic services barring emergency procedures came to a standstill in private hospitals and clinics in the city with the medical community joining their counterparts nationwide in a strike called by Indian Medical Association on Monday.

Government and private doctors raised slogans and carried placards opposing the proposal of an overarching regulatory body for medical education, the National Council for Human Resources in Health (NCHRH), which may reduce powers of existing medical councils including the Medical Council of India (MCI).

Regulation of medical education and practice by the national commission, a body constituted by members nominated by the Central government, was undemocratic, concurred IMA representatives. Existing medical, dental, and pharmaceutical councils comprised of elected representatives from the medical fraternity.

Demanding a strong law against quackery, they sought revision of some of the provisions in the Clinical Establishment Act that would regulate all clinical establishments in the country.

R.Gunasekaran, past president, Tamil Nadu chapter of IMA, said the considerations of medical community must be incorporated in drafting the Clinical Establishment Bill. The bill in its current form involved bureaucrats and should be revised to include representatives from the medical community as inspecting agencies, he said.

Healthcare would become expensive and small clinics would stand to lose if the bill is implemented in its present form as it favours only corporate hospitals and large establishments, said Selvapandian, president, Tamil Nadu Government Doctors Association, Tiruchi.

Medicos also pressed for withdrawal of the three-and-a-half-year Bachelor of Rural Health Care (BRHC) course on the grounds it was an abridged version of an MBBS and said would not do justice to the rural community.

While doctors from private hospitals commenced the protest at the Indian Medical Association Hall, government doctors, postgraduate students and house surgeons voiced their support at the Annal Gandhi Memorial Government Hospital. Wearing black badges, all medicos took a rally up to the Collectorate. A team of representatives including John Karupiah, IMA president, Tiruchi branch, and Joint Director, Health Services, T.Mohanasundaram, presented the list of demands to the DRO.

Outpatient services were not affected in government hospitals and all elective surgeries were performed as scheduled, said Dr.Selvapandian. A team was assigned to oversee services during the hours of protest.