Healthcare services paralyzed as doctors went to strike

Hyderabad: Healthcare services at government-run hospitals across Telangana and Andhra Pradesh were paralyzed on Thursday as the doctors went on strike to protest against the National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill, 2019.

Patients in major hospitals in both the state suffered as doctors boycotted duties except emergency services.

The 24-hour-long strike called by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) began at 6 a.m., adding to the hardships of poor patients in the government hospitals where the healthcare services remained affected due to strike by junior doctors for over a week.

The services came to a standstill at Osmania General Hospital, Gandhi Hospital, Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS), Niluofer Hospital, Fever Hospital in Hyderabad, MGM Hospital in Warangal and other government-run hospitals in Nizamabad, Karimnagar, Adilabad, Khammam and other towns of Telangana.

The healthcare services also came to a halt at hospitals in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh. Patients at King George Hospital in Visakhapatnam, Ruia Hospital in Tirupati and other hospitals in Vijayawada, Guntur, Kurnool and other towns were also suffering due to doctors’ strike.

IMA has 1,500 member doctors in both states of Telangana and Andhra . The doctors staged protests at their respective hospitals, calling the NMC anti-poor and anti-doctor.

They sought amendments to the NMC Bill, which was passed last week by both Houses of Parliament.

Doctors and medicos say the Bill will promote quackery as it allows non-MBBS graduates to become licensed practitioners. They believe the Bill would affect the quality of medical education and thereby working against the interests of the poor.

Meanwhile, the indefinite strike by junior doctors entered the eighth day on Thursday. They intensified the strike by staging ‘maha dharna’ at Indira Park in Hyderabad.

“We are fighting for people not for us. This Bill will damage the entire system affecting the people’s interests,” said one of the protesting medicos.

The junior doctors said the changes to be brought in medical education would affect its quality and many youngsters aspiring to become doctors will not be able to afford it.

Earlier in the day Junior doctors of Osmania Medical College and Gandhi Hospital staged a protest at Dharna Chowk on Thursday against the National Medical Commission Bill (NMC), 2019, which was passed in the Parliament a few days ago.

The protesters were seen raising anti-NMC slogans and holding placards which read “Say No To NMC Bill” and “We Stand Against NMC.”

Yesterday, several junior doctors and medicos were detained by the police for taking part in a relay hunger strike at Siddhartha Medical College of the city on Wednesday, opposing the Bill.

The NMC Bill will replace the Medical Council of India (MCI) by a National Medical Commission. It will decrease the representation of elected members from 75 per cent in MCI to 20 per cent in NMC.

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