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IMA extends support to striking doctors, says its core concerns remain unaddressed

twitter-logoPTI | August 2, 2019 | Updated 19:12 IST

New Delhi, Aug 2 (PTI) The Indian Medical Association (IMA) extended support to striking doctors on Friday and said its "core concerns" over the National Medical Commission Bill remained unaddressed. In a statement, the IMA, the largest body of doctors and medical students in the country with around three lakh members, said it would never accept the provision of the Bill which provides for unqualified non-medical persons being registered and allowed to practice. "Their ability and capability will always be doubtful and not to talk of irreparable damage to healthcare management. The struggle against NMC Bill is the second freedom struggle for the medical fraternity of India," the doctors' body stated. The IMA said its "core concerns remain unaddressed". It said that medical students of the country belonging to IMA MSN (Medical Student Network) are on strike while hunger strikes and Raj Bhavan marches have been organised in most states. The IMA has also called for on emergency All India Action Committee meeting on Sunday. Healthcare services at many government hospitals were affected for the second consecutive day on Friday as resident doctors continued their strike and withdrew all services, including that at the emergency department, in protest against the Bill. They also threatened to continue their strike for an indefinite period if their concerns regarding the Bill were not addressed. On Thursday, Rajya Sabha had passed the National Medical Commission Bill for replacing the corruption-plagued MCI with a new body, in what was described by the government as one of the biggest reforms for medical education in the country. The Bill will now go back to Lok Sabha as two amendments need to be approved by it. A group of doctors, including those from AIIMS, under the banner of "Progressive Medicos and Scientists' Forum" (PMSF) also voiced opposition to the Bill, saying it must be opposed "tooth and nail to safeguard the health care needs of the people, especially the poorer sections,safeguard the genuine interests of medical students and the larger medical fraternity, and the dignity of medical profession". The doctors have opposed Section 32 of the Bill which states "the Commission may grant limited licence to practice medicine at mid-level as Community Health Provider to such person connected with modern scientific medical profession who qualify such criteria as may be specified by the regulations." "The ambiguity plastered on face of this provision provides evidence of less than pious intentions of the government. In place of practitioners of recognized systems of medicine in the initial provision now we must bear persons ‘connected (emphasis ours) with modern scientific medical profession.' "While the initial provision at least talked of a 'bridge course', the new provision is silent on the method by which the 'Commission’ will grant limited license’ to such ‘Connected’ persons to practice modern medicine," a statement by PMSF said. They also opposed there provision where in - "Central government may, by notification, supersede the Commission for such period,not exceeding six months, as may be specified in the notification." "As such this would render the NMC as an instrument of pushing the political and economic agenda of the government of the day in the field of health," the PMSF stated. PTI PLB PLB SMN SMN

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