Rejecting the recommendations of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the National Medical Commission bill, the Indian Medical Association, the largest body of private doctors in India, today called for an indefinite strike from April 2.
More than 25,000 doctors from across India today held a ‘mahapanchayat’ at the Indira Gandhi Stadium in Delhi and opposed the parliament panel’s recommendations and the bill.
The NMC bill proposes to allow practitioners of alternative medicines – such as homoeopathy and ayurveda – to practice modern medicine once they complete a “bridge course”. It also proposes that the National Licentiate Examination (NLE) be made compulsory for any MBBS doctor, including a foreign graduate, to make them eligible to practice medicine in India.
The parliamentary panel has recommended that the “bridge course” should not be made a mandatory provision. It has also suggested to integrate the NLE with the final year MBBS exam.
The doctors say the panel’s suggestions are “deceptive”.
IMA national president Ravi Wankhedkar said all medical students and doctors will go on an indefinite strike on April 2. He said there was no need for the government to make any law if they want to boost only AYUSH, homeopathy, pharmacists and dentist.
“The PSC report is deceptive to such an extent that it will open up the floodgates to allow back-door entry to cross-pathy, thereby promoting quackery legally. Even after the cosmetic amendments, the core issues still remain where it is,” Wankhedkar said.
Declaring hospitals “safe zones” was one of the issues discussed at the mahapanchayat.
Vinay Aggarwal, coordinator of the mahapanchayat, emphasized on the issue of violence against doctors and insisted that the “problems faced by doctors are enough, now it’s time to payback”.
People should understand the meaning of medical negligence and that a doctor never intends to perform a wrong surgery, the IMA said. It demanded no criminal prosecution for “minor clinical errors”.
R N Tandon, honorary secretary-general of the IMA, said: “The NMC is a pro-private management bill paving the way for widespread corruption… All arguments of the government are hollow and its intention is malafide and harmful.”
Wankhedkar said the provisions to open new medical colleges are ambiguous and the provisions to begin PG courses are unregulated.
“Recommendation to increase the regulation of fee in private medical colleges from 40 to 50 per cent does not make a material difference. However, lack of clarity on implementation may jeopardise the decision itself,” he added.