Private and Government doctors did not attend to out-patients except for emergency cases and in patients. The doctors participated in the strike in response to an all India call given by the Indian Medical Association.

Doctors, medical representatives, laboratory employees and junior doctors went on a token strike and took out a rally to register their protest against the proposed reduction of the powers of the Medical Council of India (MCI) and change provisions of the Clinical Establishment Act.

Private and Government doctors did not attend to out-patients except for emergency cases and in patients. The doctors participated in the strike in response to an all India call given by the Indian Medical Association. They took out a rally from the Indian Medical Association (IMA) Hall near Challapalli Bungalow.

IMA Vijayawada chapter secretary Vellanki Sridevi said that with the establishment of the National Council for Human Resources in Health the powers of MCI, a “democratically elected body” would be reduced. All members of the National council, which would have sweeping powers, nominated. The doctors and other health personnel were opposed to this, she said.

The Clinical Establishment Act would result in the closing down of small nursing homes and pave the way for corporate hospitals to take over, Dr. Sridevi said.

“The Centre has set up a NCH and has brought under its umbrella the National Council for Human Resource in Health, Bachelor of Rural Health Care (BRHC) and MCI. Under BRHC, the government wants to issue a medical degree for just three and a half years which will not augur well for the profession,” said former IMA chief G. Samaram.

“While the developed countries are keen on increasing the quality of the medical profession, the Indian Government was keen on spreading substandard healthcare by introducing crash courses,” he felt.

Demands

The other important demands of the doctors were the shelving of three and a half year rural doctors course and holding of NEET from 2014 after amalgamating the state syllabus with other central courses like ICSE and CBSE. “While we find five years is not sufficient for completion of the course, three and half years is sufficient to produce only a quack. The Government should come up with better facilities and incentives to encourage doctors to work in rural areas,” Dr. Sridevi said.

In Guntur hundreds of doctors took out a rally from Bose statue at Kothapet to the Collector’s office here and the Andhra Pradesh Junior Doctors’ Association expressed its solidarity.

IMA Guntur branch president Ch. Visweswara Rao, secretary Y. Subba Rayudu, joint secretary B. Narendra Reddy and others submitted a memorandum to the Joint Collector N. Yuvaraj seeking redressing of their grievances. The IMA criticised the Central Government’s move to constitute a National Commission for Human Resources in Health (NCHRH) saying that it was intended to exercise bureaucratic control over the doctors and medical establishments which are already regulated by a slew of legislations.

The MCI was disbanded just because some of its top office-bearers faced corruption charges. An autonomous ‘body of governors’ which did not possess the professional expertise replaced MCI.

Some amendments were proposed to be made to the Clinical Establishments (Registration & Regulation) Act [CEA] with the intention to exercise complete control over the medical practitioners.

The Central Government took several such decisions arbitrarily and was refusing to look into the IMA’s legitimate demands.

IMA Action Committee coordinator N. Kishore, former minister Sanakkayala Aruna and others participated in the agitation.

More In: Vijayawada