Resident doctors of AIIMS and Safdarjung Hospital called off their strike and resumed duties on Sunday after Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan assured them that their concerns over the NMC Bill will be duly addressed.
In a communique to the AIIMS director, the Resident Doctors Association (RDA) said that during the meeting, the Union minister assured them of addressing their concerns while drafting the regulations of the National Medical Commission (NMC).
The minister also told them that the representatives of the AIIMS RDA and students' union will be consulted while drafting the regulations of the commission. Vardhan had met a delegation of resident doctors associations of AIIMS and Safdarjung Hospital and hoped that they would end their strike in view of the problems being faced by the patients. The Safdarjung resident doctors also called off their strike at midnight and conveyed the same to the medical superintendent of the hospital.
"Agitating doctors from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) have called off their strike. The health minister explained the objectives of bringing the NMC bill 2019 at length and assured us that the apprehensions... will be duly addressed while drafting the regulations by the NMC once it is constituted," the AIIMS RDA said in the communique.
It referred to section 14(1) para (2), admissions into undergraduate courses at AIIMS New Delhi, section 15(5) admissions into AIIMS New Delhi vide Exit Test and section 32 (Community Health Providers). "We were also assured by the minister that representatives of RDA and students unions AIIMS (New Delhi) will be consulted before framing of regulations of the NMC bill under section 57 of the bill," the AIIMS RDA said.
After a governing body meeting of the RDA AIIMS, the executive committee decided to withdraw the strike and resume all services with immediate effect.
They said the AIIMS administration also assured them that the strike period, August 1 to 3, would be considered as "on duty".Meanwhile, doctors associated with the Federation of Resident Doctors Association (FORDA) also resumed services in all Delhi government hospitals on Sunday.
Vardhan met the representatives of resident doctors associations at his residence on Sunday and said that he cleared their doubts and queries related to the National Medical Commission(NMC) Bill. "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," he tweeted.
In another tweet, the Union minister said, "Besides AIIMS RDA, also met SJDDELHI RDA delegation and removed their misconceptions regarding NMC Bill. Hope the agitating doctors, in view of problems faced by the patients, and national interest end their protest."
The doctors boycotted work and had been demonstrating against certain provisions of the bill since its passage in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday.
On Saturday, the AIIMS and Safdarjung Hospital authorities had threatened punitive action against the protesting doctors as they intensified their agitation and police had to be deployed around the campuses to control the situation.
Following the Health Ministry's directive, administrators of the Centre-run AIIMS and Safdarjung Hospital had on Saturday issued memorandums to their resident doctors to resume work at their respective departments and warned them of punitive action, such as termination of service, if they did not resume duty immediately.
The NMC bill provides for setting up of a National Medical Commission in place of the MCI for development and regulation of all aspects of medical education, profession and institutions. Doctors are demanding certain amendments in the bill. According to them, if not amended, the bill will lead to deterioration of medical education and the degradation of healthcare services.
The fraternity was opposing section 32(1), (2) and (3) of the bill, saying it will encourage quackery by providing licence to practice modern medicine as community health providers for persons other than those possessing MBBS degrees. The doctors said there was no clarity over the introduction of NEXT and scrapping the NEET-PG.
They are also opposing decreasing the percentage of seats under controlled fees structure in private medical colleges and deemed universities from 85 to 50 per cent, reducing the representation of elected members from 75 per cent in MCI to 20 per cent in the National Medical Commission and autonomous boards constituted there-under.