The strike by resident doctors and MBBS students was called off on Thursday after officials of the Union Health Ministry held two meetings with the protesters and assured them that their demands would be met.
The strike, called over compulsory rural posting in the MBBS curriculum, had begun on Wednesday evening and continued into Thursday, bringing all elective services at associated hospitals to a halt.
Health Ministry officials had met representatives of the protesting doctors over their concerns. But doctors said after the first meeting with Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, there was “little clarity”.
Dr Anirudh Lochan, secretary general of Young Doctors’ Association of India, said the strike was called off after a second meeting with ministry officials. “We have been given an assurance that our demands will be met and the notification has been kept in abeyance for the time being,” he said.
A press release from the Ministry of Health on Thursday evening stated that the Health Minister had directed officials and the Medical Council of India to hold the notification regarding the change in MBBS curriculum “in abeyance”.
The minister also assured doctors that the rural posting would not be applicable for doctors appearing in PG examinations for the year 2015-16.
After the first meeting, Dr Atul Batra, president of the RDA association of AIIMS, had said, “The ministry had issued a notification stating one more year of internship and one for rural posting would be added to the existing 5.5 year MBBS curriculum — a two year increase to 7.5 years for a simple MBBS. When we met the Health Minister, he said it was a typographical error and only one year of internship would be maintained. An additional year of rural posting would be included, thus extending the curriculum by one year instead of two. We find this hard to believe, especially since we were not given anything in writing by the ministry.”