Doctors End Strike After Govt Promises to Review Medical Bill

The NMC Bill seeks to replace the Medical Council of India.

2 min read
Doctor’s in Delhi on strike.

The Indian Medical Association (IMA) on Tuesday, 2 January, called off its 12-hour countrywide shutdown of out-patient department (OPD) services at all private hospitals in the country, after Health Minister Jagat Prakash Nadda agreed to its demand and sent the National Medical Commission Bill 2017 for review to a select committee. Talks were held with the IMA a day earlier.

We have called off the 12-hour strike as we have just been informed that the government has agreed to our demands and has sent the Bill to a select committee.
KK Aggarwal, former IMA president, to IANS

The IMA called for a 12-hour shutdown of all private hospitals in the country on Tuesday, 2 January, to protest the "anti-people and anti-patient" National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill 2017 that seeks to replace the Medical Council of India (MCI).

  • Patients wait outside a hospital in Thiruvananthapuram as doctor’s strike for an hour.
  • Patients wait outside a hospital in Thiruvananthapuram as doctor’s strike for an hour.
  • Thirvananthapuram hospital during the doctor’s strike.
The IMA has 2.77 lakh members, which includes corporate hospitals, polyclinics and nursing homes, across the country.  

The government in the Rajya Sabha maintained that the NMC Bill that seeks to replace the MCI with a new body would be beneficial to the medical profession.

Besides seeking to replace the MCI with a new body, the Bill also proposes to allow alternative medicine practitioners, including homeopathic, ayurvedic, naturopathy, unani practitioners, to practise allopathy after completing a “bridge course.”

The IMA said the Bill will "cripple" the functioning of medical professionals by making them completely answerable to the bureaucracy and non-medical administrators.

The central government has left us no option but to call it a ‘black day’ in the history of medical profession. ‘No to NMC’ is a slogan for the medical community as well as every patient.
Parthiv Sanghvi, member, IMA, to IANS

Earlier, raising the issue, Samajwadi Party’s Naresh Agarwal said many patients have died due to the strike called to oppose the Bill that will enable superseding of the elected medical professionals' body.

Leader of Opposition and senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said the government should take initiative to end the strike.

While private hospitals in other states followed IMA's call to keep OPDs shut for 12 hours, the national capital saw a mixed response.

Several big corporate hospitals, including Apollo Hospitals, BLK Super Specialty Hospital, and Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, among dozen others, chose to keep their OPDs operational.

(With inputs from ANI, IANS, PTI)

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