Healthcare services at multiple hospitals across India were partially disrupted today when doctors went on a strike in protest against the controversial National Medical Commission Bill.
The emergency and critical care departments at the hospitals, however, functioned normally, according to reports from the states.
The reports also said that doctors at several hospitals wore black badges at work.
The situation eased later in the day when the 12-hour nationwide stir called by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) from 6 am was called off after the Centre agreed to refer the proposed legislation to a parliamentary standing committee.
The bill had triggered wide protests from doctors as also the opposition parties.
The National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill, which was tabled in Parliament on Friday, seeks to replace the Medical Council of India(MCI) and also proposes allowing practitioners of alternative medicines, such as homoeopathy and ayurveda, practise allopathy after completing a “bridge course”.
“We called off our strike as the Bill has been referred to a Parliamentary Standing Committee which has members from diverse fields and there should now be a fruitful discussion,” said IMA’s K K Aggarwal, who was spearheading the stir.
Terming the Bill as “anti-people and anti-patient”, the IMA has stated that the bill purported to eradicate corruption is “designed to open the floodgates of corruption.”
Earlier in the day, Union Health Minister J P Nadda said in Parliament that talks were on with the IMA to clear their doubts.
“Talks are on. We have heard them (the doctors) and also presented our views,” he said.
“This (Bill) is beneficial to the medical profession,” Nadda said in the Rajya Sabha after the members raised the issue of strike by the doctors across the country.
The strike by doctors in Kerala caused immense harship to those visiting hospitals across the state.
While doctors in government and medical college hospitals boycotted out-patient services for one hour in the morning, the strike was observed for a longer duration in private hospitals.
The doctors, however, attended emergency cases and those admitted in hospitals.