Staging a protest against the National Medical Commission Bill (2019) which has passed the Lok Sabha on Monday, doctors all over the nation, on Thursday, are on a one-day protest since 8 AM. They have alleged to keep protesting indefinitely against the Bill which seeks to replace the Medical Council of India, is likely to be introduced in the Rajya Sabha this week.
This protest has severely hit services at major government hospitals like Safdarjung Hospital and AIIMS in New Delhi, as doctors have suspended emergency services in protest. Resident doctors have taken to the streets in New Delhi, blocking the road outside the hospital in protest as seen in the visuals. Doctors from New Delhi's Ram Manohar Lohia hospital too have joined the protest.
Dr. Sumedh Sadan Shiv, President of Federation of resident doctors association has alleged that the new Bill is anti-poor, anti-student and undemocratic. Doctors are seen gathered in the AIIMS hospital's auditorium holding placards stating ' Say No to National Medical Commission Bill (2019)'. Speaking to Republic TV, a resident protesting doctor at AIIMS has explained their specific dispute with provisions in Bill.
"We are protesting against the NMC Bill which will break the autonomy of the AIMMS hospital. It directly affects our methods of practice. Further, we will march to the Parliament in protest," said a protesting junior doctor.
Stating that if the government does not listen to the protesting doctors, it will be the blackest days of democracy, another protesting doctor said:
"Our strike is against some provisions of NMC Bill. Resident doctors have been withdrawn from services. Faculty and consultants are providing services. If the govt doesn't listen to us then it would be counted as one of the blackest days in the history of the medical fraternity."
Similarly, resident doctors in Jaipur are on a one-day mass leave, protesting against the NMC bill. Speaking about the association's demands, Resident doctors association President (Jaipur) Dr. Vikas Chaudhary has said:
"This bill will legalize illiterate doctors and this is a Bill of death for all the patients. If needed we can extend this protest to a further level after talking to other associations."
Previously on Wednesday, a delegation from the Doctors' Association held a meeting with Health Minister late in the evening in a view to resolve the issue against the NMC Bill. The Indian Medical Association (IMA), which is the largest body of doctors and medical students in the country with around three lakh members had given a call for a 24-hour withdrawal of non-essential services on Wednesday.
According to PRS, the Bill introduced by the Minister of Health Dr. Harsh Vardhan, seeks to repeal the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 and provide for a medical education system which ensures: (i) availability of adequate and high quality medical professionals, (ii) adoption of the latest medical research by medical professionals, (iii) periodic assessment of medical institutions, and (iv) an effective grievance redressal mechanism.
Under this Bill, the NMC will consist of 25 members, appointed by the central government which will frame policies for regulating medical institutions and medical professionals, assess the healthcare requirements, ensure compliance by the State Medical Councils and frame guidelines for fee-structure upto 50% of the seats in private medical institutions and deemed universities, regulated under the Bill.