Doctors' Strike Against NMC Bill Continues, Healthcare Services Affected

Resident and junior doctors protest against the introduction of National Medical Commission bill in Rajya Sabha at All India Institute Of Medical Sciences flyover in New Delhi on Thursday

Resident and junior doctors protest against the introduction of National Medical Commission bill in Rajya Sabha at All India Institute Of Medical Sciences flyover in New Delhi on Thursday

Doctors from several hospitals across the Capital and various parts of the country have struck work, including emergency services in some hospitals, for the past three days now protesting against the National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill, 2019.

They also threatened to continue their strike for an indefinite period if their concerns regarding the Bill were not addressed.

The Resident Doctors' Association and the students' union of All India Institute of Medical Sciences on Saturday said they appreciated Vardhan's efforts to address their misgivings about the bill but added that "many of the concerns pertaining to the medical fraternity have not been adequately addressed".

The Rajya Sabha passed the Bill on Thursday.

On Friday evening, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan met with doctors and asked them to end the strike in the interest of patients.

The IMA is demanding that the Bill be referred to the Lok Sabha once again before going to the President for his assent.

Doctors and students across the country are holding a "token" strike resulting in disruption of healthcare services at government hospitals, including AIIMS.

Striking doctors from Safdarjung Hospital marched towards the arterial Ring Road after the medical superintendent warned of strict action against them if they failed to resume work. They were detained by police and later let off. Resident doctors at Dr Hedgewar Aarogya Sansthan in east Delhi's Shahdara, which gets a lot of outstation patients, went on strike on Friday morning and on Saturday resumed services, a senior official said.

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Patients unaware of the stir reached hospitals only to return or wait interminably to be attended.

At Safdarjung Hospital, the doctors did not join duties in any department, including the emergency department.

Except emergency and ICU services, outpatient department (OPD) services remained affected at the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) here.

Routine surgeries were cancelled and only emergency cases were being performed at several facilities, authorities said.

Explained: What is National Medical Commission Bill 2019 and why are doctors opposing it?

Doctors of several associations have been expressing reservations over certain provisions of the bill.

"The provisions of the said bill are nothing short of draconian and promote gross incompetence and mockery of professionals now working day and night and sacrificing their youth for this broken system", the doctors had earlier said in a joint statement.

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