THE INDIAN Medical Association’s (IMA’s) month-long initiative to raise awareness about issues being faced by medical professionals, which saw national president Dr Ravi Wankhedkar leading a yatra from Kanyakumari, will culminate with a ‘Doctors’ Mahapanchayat’ at New Delhi on March 25.
Several doctors from across the country will gather at the ‘mahapanchayat’. “We want to make the public aware as to why IMA is opposing the National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill in its present format,” said Dr Meenakshi Deshpande, joint secretary, IMA, Pune.
A cycle rally, titled ‘Health First’, was held on March 11 as a pan-India activity to raise awareness about health.
There are more than 10 lakh doctors in the country and the IMA represents at least 30 per cent of them, said Deshpande.
She added that the move was followed by the increasing number of incidents of violence against doctors. Instead of amending the IMC Act, the government is introducing the NMC, which replaces the MCI with another body — the National Medical Commission. It is taking away our professional autonomy, she said.
The government is not implementing suitable amendments in the Clinical Establishments Act and the PC-PNDT Act, she added. Criminal prosecution of doctors in clinical practice and allowing non-MBBS, non-BDS doctors to practice modern medicine via a bridge course are other major issues the IMA is fighting against.
“If the NMC Bill goes through in its present format, the government will exercise control over the medical profession and we will be answerable to bureaucrats and other nominated members with no medical background,” said other doctors. The Bill promotes crosspathy, they added. IMA members, while arguing that the Bill allowed private medical colleges to fix charges for up to 60 per cent of seats, claimed that this would pave the way for corruption.