Doctors to observe 2-hr token strike on Monday against bill

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New Delhi, April 1 (IANS) Medicos across the country will observe a token strike from noon to 2 p.m. on Monday to protest against the National Medical Commission Bill 2017, the IMA said on Sunday.

The Indian Medical Association (IMA), with more than two lakh doctor-members, has warned that all practitioners of modern medicine will withdraw their services if the government went ahead with the controversial bill.

“If this bill is forced upon us, the medical fraternity in the country will observe an ‘allopathy-mukt Bharat’ by withdrawing their services,” said IMA Secretary General Dr R.N. Tandon.

The IMA, in a press release, said it had expressed its strong opposition to the bill and pointed out its several flaws. Though the government has addressed some of the issues partially, the major objections still remain, it said.

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The IMA is concerned over a system wherein AYUSH doctors can prescribe allopathic medicines. It believes the central government has allegedly enabled a back-door entry by not making the bridge course mandatory and by leaving it up to the states to decide.

“If there remain provisions to empower AYUSH or even non-doctors to practise modern medicine through state mechanisms, it will be firmly resisted by the IMA and the medical fraternity,” it said.

IMA President Dr Ravi Wankhedkar said the issue of greater public concern is the percentage of medical seats to be left to the private managements.

“On one hand, the government speaks of doctors for rural areas and on the other it provides increased quota for the urban rich. The bill will push medical education completely out of reach of the deserving,” Wankhedkar claimed.

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The IMA lamented that states are being denied equal and adequate representation in the said bill.

Other areas of concern are violence against doctors and hospitals, amendments in Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act, exemption to single-doctor clinics from Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act and changes in the Consumer Protection Act.

“Even after strong protests, the government has consistently ignored our difficulties and needs. The IMA and the medical fraternity have run out of all options but to withdraw their services,” he said.

–IANS

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