Work in several hospitals in India were hit yesterday following a nationwide call for strike given by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) to protest against the National Medical Commission Bill, 2019.
Doctors refused to attend out-patient departments (OPDs).
OPDs at the Calcutta National Medical College in West Bengal were completely paralysed while other hospitals protested for a few hours.
A patient who had burn injuries had to return home without treatment as the OPD was shut in Malda Medical College and Hospital.
In Bihar too medical services suffered. Several hospitals, including AIIMS Patna, joined the day-long strike.
Though emergency services were exempted, patients were seen running from pillar to post.
In Ghaziabad, hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and other health facilities remained closed.
The NMC Bill, which seeks to establish a new regulatory structure for medical services in India, was passed by the Lok Sabha on Monday and is awaiting clearance from the Rajya Sabha.
“The passage of the NMC Bill, 2019 would be a black chapter in India’s medical history. It will hurt the interests of patients,” said Bihar IMA chief Shaligram Vishvakarma.
IMA secretary Dr Brajnandan Kumar said: “This is an indicative strike. But we will continue our protest if our demand is not met with. Ghaziabad IMA president Dr D P Singh said bill would prove costly for patients and downgrade the quality of medical profession.
The bill proposes to extend reservation to private medical colleges, and will allow pharmacists, paramedics and nursing staff to prescribe medicine.