New Delhi: The Resident Doctors’ Association on Thursday are observing a nationwide strike against the provisions of National Medical Commission Bill. This one-day strike is likely to hit the healthcare services at government hospitals, including AIIMS, Safdarjung and RML in Delhi, as it includes withdrawal of services at emergency departments.

A Resident Doctor was quoted by news agency ANI as saying, “Our strike is against some provisions of NMC Bill. Resident doctors have been withdrawn from services. Faculty&consultants are providing services. If govt doesn’t listen to us then it would be counted as one of the blackest days in history of medical fraternity.”

Claiming the bill to be ‘anti-poor, anti-student and undemocratic’, Dr Sumedh Sandanshiv, the president of Federation of Resident Doctors’ Association (FORDA) threatened, “Resident doctors will refrain from working in OPDs, emergency departments and ICUs as a mark of protest on Thursday and the strike will continue for an indefinite period if the bill is tabled and passed in the Rajya Sabha.”

The bill, which seeks to replace the graft-tainted Medical Council of India (MCI) with a National Medical Commission, is slated to be tabled in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday. Notably, Lok Sabha approved the bill on July 29.

As a mark of protest against the bill, doctors from various hospitals have been wearing black badges. Amid widespread protests, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan tweeted on Wednesday night that he will table the NMC bill for consideration and passage in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday. He also assured the nation of bringing major changes in the medical education sector if the bill is passed.

Taking the proposed strike notice into consideration, several hospital authorities have issued a contingency plan for the smooth functioning of healthcare services. Thus, the emergency services will function with the help of sponsored residents or pool officers and faculty members.

A contingency plan prepared by AIIMS stated, “Inpatient (General and Private) wards patient care services, Labour Room and Maternity Operation Theatre (OT) and support services will function normally and will be supervised by the concerned faculty of hospital administration.”

The decision to oppose the NMC Bill, 2019 in its current form was taken during a joint meeting of representatives of the FORDA, the URDA and the RDA-AIIMS held on Tuesday.

A joint statement of AIIMS RDA, the FORDA and the Untied-RDA which lashed out at the bill read: “The provisions of the said bill are nothing short of draconian and promote gross incompetence and mockery of the professionals currently working day and night and sacrificing their youth for this broken system.”

Claiming that the bill will encourage quackery, the fraternity added, “If it is tabled in its current form in the Rajya Sabha without any amendments, the medical fraternity across the country will be forced to resort to extreme measures, which may hamper the healthcare services nationwide. We will withdraw from essential and non-essential services from the hospitals for an indefinite period.”