Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Sunday met the associations of AIIMS and Safdarjung resident doctors, who are on a strike in protest against certain provisions of the NMC Bill, and hoped they will withdraw their stir keeping in view national interest and problems faced by patients. Resident doctors continued to be on strike for the fourth consecutive day today.
Vardhan met representatives of resident doctors associations at his residence and said he cleared their doubts and queries related to the National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill.
“Met the delegation of AIIMS RDA at my residence and reiterated that National Medical Commission Bill is a big change in the field of medical education which will prove to be a blessing in better health services to 130 crore people,” he tweeted.
In another tweet he said, “Besides AIIMS RDA, also met SJDDELHI RDA delegation and removed their misconceptions regarding NMC Bill. Hope the agitating doctors, in view of problems faced by patients, and national interest end their protest.”
Health care services continued to be affected as resident doctors at some government hospitals including AIIMS and Safdarjung boycotted non-essential services even as emergency services had resumed on Saturday in all healthcare facilities.
Doctors have been boycotting work and demonstrating over certain provisions of the Bill after its passage in Rajya Sabha on Thursday.
On Saturday, AIIMS and Safdarjung Hospital authorities threatened punitive action against protesting doctors as they intensified their agitation and police had to be deployed around campuses to control the situation.
Following the health ministry’s directive, hospital administrations of two Centre-run AIIMS and Safdarjung Hopstal had issued memorandums to their resident doctors on Saturday to resume work at their respective departments and warned them of punitive action like termination of their service if they do not join duty immediately.
The NMC bill provides for setting up of a National Medical Commission in place of the MCI for development and regulation of all aspects of medical education, profession and institutions.
Doctors are demanding certain amendments in the bill. According to them, if not amended, the bill will lead to deterioration of medical education and degradation of healthcare services.
The fraternity is opposing section 32(1), (2) and (3) of the bill, saying it will encourage quackery by providing licence to practice modern medicine as community health providers for persons other than those possessing MBBS degrees.
Doctors say there was no clarity over the introduction of National Exit Test and scrapping the NEET-PG. They are also opposing decreasing the percentage of seats under controlled fees structure in private medical colleges and deemed universities from 85 to 50 per cent, reducing representation of elected members from 75 per cent in MCI to 20 per cent in National Medical Commission and autonomous boards constituted there-under.
They are objecting to section 45 of the bill, which, they claim, empowers the Union government to override any suggestion of the National Medical Commission.
The bill proposes a common final-year MBBS examination, to be known as the National Exit Test (NEXT), for admission to post-graduate medical courses and for obtaining a licence to practise medicine. It would also act as a screening test for foreign medical graduates.