The Hush Post:  The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has called for suspending routine services for 12 hours to protest a Bill seeking to replace the Medical Council of India (MCI) with a new body. Healthcare services across the country at many private hospitals are likely to be hit on Tuesday. Services at outpatient departments (OPDs) of many private hospitals may be hit by the protest, but emergency and critical services will remain open. The IMA headquarters declares closure of all routine services for 12 hours from 6 am to 6 pm tomorrow across the country, newly-appointed IMA national president Dr Ravi Wankhedkar said. Supporting the IMA’s protest, the Delhi Medical Association (DMA) has called upon all private and corporate hospitals in the national capital to keep their OPD services closed. IMA members held a meeting with the Union Health minister J P Nadda and conveyed their concerns over the Bill.

The Indian Medical Association has been strongly opposing the National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill saying it will “cripple” the functioning of medical professionals by making them completely answerable to the bureaucracy and non-medical administrators. According to the new bill, the National Medical Commission formed will have a government-nominated chairman and members, and the board members will be selected by a search committee under the Cabinet Secretary

The NMC Bill, which was tabled in Parliament on Friday and will come up for discussion tomorrow, proposes allowing practitioners of alternative medicines, such as homoeopathy and ayurveda, to practise allopathy after completing a “bridge course”. The provision will also allow AYUSH graduates to practise modern medicine after completing the bridge course will promote quackery, say allopathic doctors.

The NMC Bill takes away the voting right of every doctor in India to elect their medical council, a doctor said. The draft bill, in its current form, allows private medical colleges to charge at will.  Clause 49 of the Bill calls for a joint sitting of the National Medical Commission, the Central Council of Homoeopathy and the Central Council of Indian Medicine at least once a year “to enhance the interface between homoeopathy, Indian Systems of Medicine and modern systems of medicine”.

The Bill proposes constitution of four autonomous boards entrusted with conducting undergraduate and postgraduate education, assessment and rating of medical institutions and registration of practitioners under the National Medical Commission.

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