Pvt hospitals in Delhi ignore IMA's call for 12-hr strike

PTI
Saturday, 28 July 2018

"We did not support the IMA's call for strike as the government, after our last strike, had incorporated several changes in the Bill that we had asked for. Even now the government is open to discussion and interaction with us and we will review the Bill again," Dr Harish Gupta said.

NEW DELHI: Private hospitals here paid no heed to the 12-hour national strike called by the IMA against the introduction of the National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill with the Delhi Medical Association also refusing to take part in the protest.

All healthcare services, including OPDs, functioned smoothly at the private hospitals today.

"We did not support the IMA's call for strike as the government, after our last strike, had incorporated several changes in the Bill that we had asked for. Even now the government is open to discussion and interaction with us and we will review the Bill again," Delhi Medical Association (DMA) executive member Dr Harish Gupta said.

He added that an emergency general body meeting was called to decide the future course of action.

The Indian Medical Association (IMA) had called for suspension of all non-emergency services, including OPDs, for 12 hours to observe the "Dhikkar Diwas - no to NMC Bill" today as a protest against the bill, which seeks to replace the Medical Council of India (MCI) with a new body.

In a statement issued today, the IMA said doctors across the country responded to its call and the withdrawal of non-emergency services affected patients in almost all major states, especially in tier 2,3,4 cities and towns.

However, a Health Ministry source said no strikes were reported from majority of the states.

Meanwhile, in view of this, the Health Ministry had asked the additional chief secretaries and health secretaries of all states and Union Territories yesterday to put in place all necessary measures to ensure that healthcare and emergency services run smoothly during the strike.

"Provisions of the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) may be invoked, if necessary. These measures may be continued if the strike is extended," a communique sent yesterday read.

IMA national president Dr Ravi Wankhedkar said the call against the NMC Bill generated awareness among the doctors and amongst common people. Many ordinary people identified themselves with the cause for which the doctors were fighting. "The struggle will continue," he said.

"Actually, withdrawal of non-emergency services was only a warning to the government. The IMA will intensify its agitation if the government tries to bulldoze this pro-rich, anti-democratic, anti-federal NMC Bill. We appeal to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene to protect the interests of marginalised and underprivileged sections of the society," Wankhedkar said.

The IMA had earlier said in a statement that while all elective procedures will be deferred, critical services, including deliveries, emergencies and in-patient care will be provided today.

"In spite of the deep resentment and opposition by the medical professionals of the country, the government is going ahead with the enactment of the National Medical Commission Bill-2017. We are left with no choice but to resist the move," he had said.

The common final year EXIT exam is a conceptional flaw violating the Universities Act. Between the EXIT exam and the NEET, students will become cannon fodder. More so the students from OBC, SC and ST, he said.

Also, IMA members will hold a procession and go to their respective Members of Parliament, district collector's/sub collector's office and submit a memorandum addressed to the prime minister, a statement issued on Friday said.

In March, the Health Ministry had approved amendments to the NMC Bill, including removing the contentious provision of a "bridge course", which would have allowed practitioners of alternative medicines to pursue allopathy, after stiff resistance from the IMA and the opposition.

The IMA had earlier said the Bill in its current form remained "anti-poor, anti-people and anti-federal law" which, if passed, "will have unforeseen consequences on not only the health sector but also on the federal structure of the country".

Doctors belonging to the IMA had gone on a 12-hour strike as part of a nationwide stir against the NMC Bill in January. 

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