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IMA strike hits healthcare services in WB state-run hospitals


Press Trust of India Kolkata
Healthcare services were crippled in most state-run hospitals in West Bengal on Wednesday, as doctors stayed away from work in response to a strike called by the IMA against the passage of the National Medical Commission Bill in Lok Sabha.
Indoor and outdoor departments were non-functional at several medical facilities in Kolkata, including the SSKM Hospital, R G Kar Medical College and Hospital, and the Calcutta Medical College, where patients waited in serpentine queues.
"The OPD is not operating at the SSKM. I am waiting with my ailing mother since 7 am. We have come all the way from Bangaon," said Anupam Hazra.
Medical services were also disrupted at a number of government hospitals in districts like Malda, Murshidabad and Hooghly. The impact of the strike call was such that the Malda Medical College building was reportedly locked, with no doctors or patients in sight.
"This protest is for a day. We can understand that the patients are facing problems, but we cannot help it, as the stir is against an anti-student and anti-democratic move of the Centre," a doctor, who did not wish to be named, said.
Junior doctors were seen wearing black bands to support IMA's 24-hour withdrawal of non-essential services across the country to protest against the bill, which seeks to replace the graft-tainted Medical Council of India, saying it is "anti-poor, anti-student and anti-democratic".
The Indian Medical Association, the largest body of doctors and students in the country with around three lakh members, also called for demonstrations and hunger strikes at its local branches and urged medical students to boycott classes in solidarity.
It warned in a statement that it will intensify the agitation if the government continues to be "indifferent to their concerns".
The bill passed by Lok Sabha on Monday, provides for setting up of a National Medical Commission in place of MCI for development and regulation of all aspects of medical education, profession and institutions.
The medical fraternity claims the bill will encourage quackery.

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First Published: Jul 31 2019 | 3:10 PM IST

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