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Elective medical services to be shut down today

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IMA gives a strike call against National Medical Commission Bill passed in Lok Sabha

People who intend to consult doctors or have their non-emergency surgeries scheduled for Wednesday at government hospitals, corporate hospitals and private clinics might face inconvenience as the members of Indian Medical Association (IMA), Telangana branch, have given a call for shut down of elective services throughout Wednesday. However, emergency and casualty services would be extended uninterrupted. The call was given as part of the nation-wide strike by doctors against certain sections in the National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill, which was passed in the Lok Sabha on Monday. At a press conference here on Tuesday, B. Pratap Reddy, president of IMA-Telangana branch, said they condemn the Bill.

Since the IMA members gave a call only on a day’s notice, corporate hospitals and clinics may or may not shut down out-patient (OP) services. The Telangana Junior Doctors’ Association (TJUDA) submitted a letter to Director of Medical Education stating that they would boycott elective medical services. Since junior doctors provide most of the elective services at the government hospitals, patients could be hit. Given this, resident doctors and senior doctors would have to address the demand.

The associations comprising senior and junior doctors have been protesting the NMC Bill from the past few weeks.

One of their main objections is against Section 32 of the Bill which states that, “The Commission may grant limited licence to practice medicine at mid-level as Community Health Provider to such person connected with modern scientific medical profession who qualify such criteria as may be specified by the regulations”. The IMA members said the term Community Health Provider is vaguely defined to allow anyone connected with modern medicine to register under the NMC and be licensed to practice modern medicine. “This would mean that all paramedics, including pharmacists, nurses, physiotherapists and others, would become eligible to practice modern medicine and prescribe independently. This law legalises quackery,” the IMA members said.

Besides, Section 10 (1) (i) of the Bill states that the Commission shall frame guidelines for determination of fees and all other charges in respect of 50% of seats in private medical institutions and deemed universities. Junior doctors sought clarity on the National Exit Test.

Dr. Pratap Reddy said private medical colleges might start charging exorbitant fees anywhere ranging between ₹5 crore and ₹10 crore for each seat. He said it is not doctors, but general public who would be hit badly because of the Bill.

The Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS) Resident Doctors’ Association (RDA) president, G. Srinivas, said that they too would join the strike.

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Printable version | Dec 11, 2019 5:30:35 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/elective-medical-services-to-be-shut-down-today/article28762461.ece

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