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Doctors' protest against NMC Bill fizzles out in hours

New Delhi: The Indian Medical Association (IMA) on Tuesday called off its 12-hour shutdown of outpatient dapartments (OPDs) in private hospitals across India, which was organised in protest against the National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill, 2017, after the Bill was referred to a Parliamentary Standing Committee.
The strike saw low response in metropolitan cities, including Delhi, the IMA said.
The Bill – which has been constantly opposed by the IMA ever since it received the go-ahead by the Union Cabinet on December 15 – was referred to a Standing Committee following the request of several opposition parties.
"We called off our 12-hour strike (6am-6pm) as the government agreed to our demands and has sent it to the standing committee," IMA's senior member and former president KK Aggarwal said.
When asked about the response to its strike call, IMA's national president Ravi Wankhede said that "since most private hospitals in metro cities are tertiary care hospitals, the response was low."
"However, private hospitals in rural areas fully participated and followed our call of 12-hour OPD shut down," Wankhede said.
On Tuesday, Aggarwal and Wankhede also met Union Health Minister JP Nadda, who told them that only the Parliament can decide the fate of the NMC Bill.
Most Delhi private hospitals, meanwhile, kept their OPD services open, with their doctors continuing work sporting black armbands, as a mark of solidarity.
Among the major corporate hospitals in Delhi which kept their OPDs open were BLK Super Specialty hospital, Max Super specialty hospital and Sir Ganga Ram hospital.
The health care institutions that heeded the IMA's call comprised smaller private hospitals, such as Maharaja Agrasen hospital, Bansal Hospital, Rockland among others.
However, doctors from government hospitals also supported the protest call, while wearing black bands during their OPD hours.
Terming the Bill as "anti-people and anti-patient", the Association stated that the bill purported to eradicate corruption is "designed to open the floodgates of corruption".
"NMC is an anti-poor bill with pro-private management clauses. A bill to regulate the medical education and medical practice without the concurrence of the medical profession will be a disaster," said a statement from the Association, issued after the delegation met the Union Health Minister.
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