Thiruvananthapuram/Kochi/Kozhikode: The doctors' strike called by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) in protest against various provisions in the Center's proposed National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill affected the functioning of many government and private hospital in the state on Tuesday.
Though the strike was called off later in the afternoon after the Lok Sabha referred it to a standing committee, it caused immense hardship to those visiting hospitals across the state.
The doctors in the government health services, as a token of support to the dawn-to-dusk strike, boycotted the OP from 9 to 10 am and gathered in protest. They resumed services later.
In the state capital, IMA office-bearers insisted on doctors leaving their consultation rooms, leaving many patients waiting. Services of doctors were available only in emergency care areas.
At least 30,000 doctors in the state were part of the protest. The Kerala Government Medical Officers Association (KGMOA) was also supporting the stir.
The bill has provisions that would adversely affect the health sector and medical education in the country, the association alleged.
The National Medical Commission Bill to replace the Medical Council of India (MCI) with a new body, to ensure transparency, was introduced in the Lok Sabha on December 29, amid protest from Congress members.
The Bill provides for constitution of four autonomous boards for undergraduate and post-graduate education, assessment and accreditation of medical institutions and registration of practitioners under the National Medical Commission.
It is aimed at bringing reform in the medical education sector which has been under scrutiny for corruption and unethical practices, government sources said.
It also proposes a common entrance exam and licentiate exams which all medical graduates will have to clear to get practicing licences.
No permission would be needed to add new seats or to start post-graduate courses, it said.
The association said the public should understand that the National Medical Commission Bill would create quacks by allowing 'bridging courses.' Such courses would enable ill-trained people to prescribe treatment and allopathic medicines, IMA state president E K Ummer said.
By destroying modern medicine, the bill also aimed to present India in a bad light in the global scene, he said.