Doctors threaten indefinite fast against medical commission Bill

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The protests against the National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill have intensified in the city. The relay hunger strike of the Andhra Pradesh Junior Doctors Association (APJUDA) has entered the third day on Monday. Protests were held inside the Kurnool Government General Hospital in the morning.

APJUDA Kurnool Medical College unit president B. Pragna Reddy said that the protests had been gradually intensified since July 22. “We will go on an indefinite hunger strike from Tuesday if the government does not respond to our demands,” Ms. Reddy added.

The protesters alleged that the proposed changes would destroy medical education in the country. “They will promote corruption in health sector and adversely impact patients,” said a protester.

The Kurnool unit of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) and a few patients extended their support to the stir. Some patients sat on protest along with the doctors.

The protesters demanded that the members who would run the NMC must be elected rather than appointed by the government. Ayurveda, Unani and Homeopathy doctors should be differently classified from Allopathy doctors, they said.

Services hit at GGH

Ongole Staff Reporter adds: Medical services at the Government General Hospital (GGH) were hit as junior doctors boycotted even emergency cases apart from routine medical services in protest against the Bill.

A group of 15 medicos observed a relay hunger strike demanding scrapping of the Bill as it provided for allowing 3.5 lakh community health providers to practice modern medicine after attending a crash course. “This is nothing but legalising quackery,” said Junior Doctors’ Association president Y.V. Jagadeesh Babu, before leading a motorcycle rally on the arterial roads in the city.

Abstaining from their classes, they staged a demonstration at the busy Church Centre. “We are also opposed to the common National Exit Test (NEXT) for final year students,” he said.

The Bill also allowed collection of high capitation fees in private medical colleges for 50% of seats and this would result only in a fall in educational standards and distance meritorious students from medical education, he alleged.

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