The resident doctors of AIIMS, New Delhi, on Sunday called off their protest against the National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill after a meeting with Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan. The doctors will resume their duties on Monday.
The breakthrough came after Vardhan met the associations of AIIMS and Safdarjung resident doctors, who were on the fourth day of the strike, and said he cleared their doubts and queries related to the NMC Bill, which was passed by the Parliament last week.
— Astha Saxena (@Asthasaxena88) August 4, 2019
“Met the delegation of AIIMS RDA at my residence and reiterated that National Medical Commission Bill is a big change in the field of medical education which will prove to be a blessing in better health services to 130 crore people,” Vardhan had tweeted after the meeting.
On Saturday, the Union Ministry for Health and Family Welfare warned of punitive action like termination of service if the doctors do not join work immediately. Following the ministry’s directions, administrations of both hospitals issued memorandums to resident doctors to resume work at their respective departments.
The order had further aggravated the situation as protesting doctors took to the streets and additional police forces had to be deployed outside AIIMS and Safdarjung Hospital.
At AIIMS, resident doctors resumed emergency services around midnight but non-essential services, including OPD, remained suspended. At Safdarjung Hospital, doctors did not join duty in any department, including the emergency ward.
The NMC Bill seeks to replace the graft-tainted Medical Council of India and proposes a common final-year MBBS examination, to be known as the National Exit Test (NEXT), for admission to post-graduate medical courses and for obtaining a licence to practise medicine.
Doctors have demanded amendments to the Bill, claiming it would otherwise lead to deterioration of medical education and the degradation of healthcare services. They claimed that several sections of the Bill encourage quackery, by allowing persons other than those who possess MBBS degrees to practice modern medicine.