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NMC Bill: OPD services to be affected as IMA calls for strike on July 31

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OPD services in various government hospitals across the country would be affected as the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has called for a nationwide 24-hour strike withdrawal of non-essential services on Wednesday.

The strike is part of the protest against the National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill, passed recently by the Lok Sabha to replace more than 60-year old corruption-hit Medical Council of India (MCI).

A section of doctors believe that Bill will encourage quacks, affecting quality of care in the long run.

As per news reports, demonstrations and hunger strikes will be held in all states. The IMA has asked medical students to boycott classes in solidarity.

The Federation of Resident Doctors Association (FORDA) and the Resident Doctors Association (RDA), AIIMS, have asked members to wear black badges.

“The Bill if not amended will only lead to a deterioration in the standards in medical education but will also lead to degradation of healthcare services,” an RDA statement said.

Also read: Why IMA opposing National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill?

The non-essential services including OPDs will be shut from 6 a.m. on Wednesday till 6 a.m. on Thursday. Emergency, casualty, ICU and related services will function normally.

“Section 32 of the NMC Bill provides for licensing of 3.5 lakh unqualified non-medical persons to practise modern medicine. The term Community Health Provider has been vaguely defined to allow anyone connected with modern medicine to get registered in NMC and be licensed to practise modern medicine,” R.V. Asokan, Secretary General, IMA, was quoted as saying by IANS.

“This would mean that all paramedics including pharmacists, nurses, physiotherapists, optometrists and others are becoming eligible to practise modern medicine and prescribe independently. This law legalizes quackery,” said Asokan.

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