Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan (file pic)
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan (file pic)

Harsh Vardhan meets agitating doctors, urges them to call off strike

ANI | Updated: Aug 04, 2019 15:57 IST

New Delhi (India), Aug 4 (ANI): With the doctors' strike against the National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill 2019 entering the fourth day on Sunday, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan met agitating doctors and urged them to call off their strike.
"Today morning, I have met RDA representatives of Safdarjung and AIIMS. I have clarified their doubts and misunderstanding related to NMC bill. I have explained to doctors that NMC bill is one of the biggest reform in the medical education sector which is would a blessing for 130 crore population of the country," he tweeted.
"I have appealed doctors to call off the strike so that patients should not get any difficulty in availing healthcare facilities," read another tweet.
Dr Prakash Thakur, President, Resident Doctors Association (RDA) at Safdarjung Hospital, who was in the meeting with the Union Minister, told ANI: "We have been informed by the health minister that there would be no amendment in the NMC bill. We have resumed emergency services at Safdarjung hospital. As we are not satisfied, we still put our concern to the health minister over the ambiguity of the NMC bill. Protest against NMC bill is still on."
Due to the strike, healthcare services have badly been affected and thousands of patients are having a tough time in availing treatment.
The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Federation of Resident Doctors Association (FORDA) and United Resident Doctors Association (URDA) have been protesting against the NMC bill.
Doctors have shown their dissatisfaction over the alleged ambiguity of the NMC bill. Resident doctors from various hospitals like All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS), Safdarjung, Ram Manohar Lohia, Lady Hardinge, GTB and Lok Nayak are protesting over the provisions of the NMC Bill.
Agitating doctors have deep concerns over alleged privatisation of medical education. "The NMC bill will give undue favours to the private medical colleges/unaided universities by decreasing the percentage of seats under the controlled fee structure from 85 per cent to 50 per cent," doctors said.
Both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha had passed the NMC Bill which seeks to create National Medical Commission in place of Medical Council of India (MCI) with Vardhan terming it as an "anti-vested interests Bill" which will be remembered as one of the greatest reforms brought by the Narendra Modi government.
It provides for the repeal of the Indian Medical Council Act 1956. The Bill provides that the common final year MBBS exam be known as NEXT which would serve as a licentiate exam for entrance to post-graduate medical courses and as a screening test for foreign medical graduates.
Doctors have shown their dissatisfaction over the ambiguity of the Bill. For example, the doctors are uncertain on the concept of NEXT and demolishing NEET-PG. Similarly, they are disagreeing the concept of Community Health Providers (CHP) included in the Bill.