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Health services affected again as docs take to streets against NMC

Kolkata: Health services at outpatient departments (OPDs) of various state-run hospitals and medical colleges in the state were partially affected on Wednesday, as the doctors stayed off-duty in response to the Indian Medical Association's (IMA) call for a 24-hour nationwide strike to protest against the passage of the National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill in Lok Sabha.

There was a long queue in many of the medical colleges in the city in the morning, as many doctors were not in the departments. As a result, the patients coming to the city's medical colleges from various parts were serious inconvenienced.

The doctors in the hospitals observed the strike showing solidarity with the country's apex body representing the medical fraternity, with around three lakh members across the country.

The nationwide strike started from 6 am on Wednesday and would continue till Thursday morning. The IMA announced the withdrawal of non-essential services throughout the country, but they assured that all the emergency services would remain unaffected. It also urged the medical students to boycott classes.

The emergency wards at the city's medical colleges performed normally. The health services in trauma care units, ICUs and ITUs of various government hospitals remained unaffected as well.

Doctors from various hospitals took a part in a rally from NRS Medical College and Hospital to Calcutta Medical College and Hospital, to protest against the NMC Bill.

Doctors and the junior doctors alike cried anti-NMC Bill slogans and also carried posters and banners in their hands during the rally.

The IMA argued that the NMC Bill seeks to replace the controversial Indian Medical Council (IMC). It also termed the NMC Bill as "draconian" as well as anti-people, anti-poor and anti-students. IMA also alleged that section 32 of the NMC Bill provides for licensing of 3.5 lakh unqualified non-medical persons to practice modern medicine.

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