Private hospitals in Tamil Nadu will not offer outpatient services and no elective surgeries will be conducted on Monday as a mark of protest against the Central government’s decision to bring in changes in medical education and practice.

The hospitals will conduct emergency procedures between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., the duration of the strike.

While around 15,000 government doctors are participating in the agitation and the rallies to be held that day, they will not conduct any surgeries in their private practice, said K. Senthil, president of the Tamil Nadu Government Doctors Association. Normal functioning of government hospitals will continue, he said. Deans of the government-run medical colleges in the city said they had not granted permission to their students to participate in the strike.

The country-wide protest call has been issued by the Indian Medical Association, which is objecting to the changes, including the establishment of National Council for Human Resource in Health Bill; the concept of exit and entrance examination for medical students; Clinical Establishment Bill 2010; Bachelor of Rural Health Care Bill; and quackery eradication law.

They are demanding the removal of Ghulam Nabi Azad from the post of Union Health Minister.

IMA State president K. Prakasam said the government’s proposals to moot such bills were riddled with flaws and would only result in producing poorly qualified doctors. Instead of introducing a new bill the Centre should fix a term for the president of the Medical Council of India and thus regulate its functioning. The Clinical Establishment Bill was unnecessary considering that the State government had proposed an Act to regulate private hospitals and clinics.

The protest will be held at Memorial Hall in front of the Government General Hospital.