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AIIMS, Safdarjung doctors call off strike as Health Minister assures of addressing NMC Bill concerns

In a big relief, doctors in Delhi have called off their protest after meeting Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan. During the meet, the health minister assured the striking doctors of addressing their concerns regarding the NMC Bill. Doctors at AIIMS, Safdarjung and RML hospital in Delhi had been on strike over their various demands. Healthcare and emergency services across the country were affected due to the doctors' protest. 

India TV News Desk India TV News Desk
New Delhi Published on: August 05, 2019 7:32 IST
Doctors strike
Image Source : PTI

Resident doctors call off strike after meeting Health Minister Harsh Vardhan

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan met agitating doctors on Sunday after which the doctors' strike was called off. Resident doctors at AIIMS and Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi resumed their duties on after the health minister assured them of addressing their concerns over the NMC Bill. In a communique to the AIIMS director, the Resident Doctors Association (RDA) said that during the meeting, the Union Minister assured them of addressing their concerns while drafting the regulations of the National Medical Commission (NMC).

Vardhan had met a delegation of resident doctors associations of AIIMS and Safdarjung Hospital and hoped that they would end their strike in view of the problems being faced by the patients.

The minister also told them that the representatives of the AIIMS RDA and students' union will be consulted while drafting the regulations of the commission.

"The health minister explained the objectives of bringing the NMC bill 2019 at length and assured us that the apprehensions... will be duly addressed while drafting the regulations by the NMC once it is constituted," the AIIMS RDA said in the communique. 

"We were also assured by the minister that representatives of RDA and students unions AIIMS (New Delhi) will be consulted before framing of regulations of the NMC bill under section 57 of the bill," the AIIMS RDA said.

Meanwhile, doctors associated with the Federation of Resident Doctors Association (FORDA) also resumed services in all Delhi government hospitals on Sunday.

After meeting the representatives of resident doctors association at his residence, Vardhan on Sunday 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, the Union minister 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 the patients, and national interest end their protest."

The doctors had been demonstrating against certain provisions of the billsince its passage in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday. They had boycotted work which had badly affected the healthcare and emergency services across various hospitals. 

On Saturday, the AIIMS and Safdarjung Hospital authorities had threatened punitive action against the protesting doctors as they intensified their agitation and police had to be deployed around the campuses to control the situation.

Following the Health Ministry's directive, administrators of the Centre-run AIIMS and Safdarjung Hospital had on Saturday issued memorandums to their resident doctors to resume work at their respective departments and warned them of punitive action, such as termination of service, if they did not resume duty immediately.

What was the doctors' demand

While on protest, the doctors had demanded certain amendments in the NMC bill, which 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. According to the doctors, if the bill is not amended, it will lead to the deterioration of medical education and the degradation of healthcare services.

The fraternity was opposing section 32(1), (2) and (3) of the bill, saying it will encourage quackery by providing the licence to practice modern medicine as community health providers for persons other than those possessing MBBS degrees.

The doctors said there was no clarity over the introduction of NEXT and scrapping the NEET-PG.

Other than the NMC Bill, the doctors also opposed the declining percentage of seats under controlled fees structure in private medical colleges and deemed universities, from 85 to 50 per cent. 

Also Read | Here's why doctors are protesting National Medical Council Bill 2019

Also Read | NMC Bill Protest: You will be terminated from service, Health Ministry warns doctors on strike

Video: Strike in government hospitals as resident doctors protest NMC bill

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