OPDs in government hospitals across the country will be shut on Wednesday as part of protests against the National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill which doctors say will encourage quacks.
As a mark of protest against the Bill which was passed in the Lok Sabha on Monday, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has called for a nationwide 24-hour withdrawal of non-essential services.
Demonstrations and hunger strikes will be held in all states. The IMA has asked medical students to boycott classes in solidarity.
The Federation of Resident Doctors Association (FORDA) and the Resident Doctors Association (RDA), AIIMS, have asked members to wear black badges.
"The Bill if not amended will only lead to a deterioration in the standards in medical education but will also lead to degradation of healthcare services," an RDA statement said.
The non-essential services including OPDs will be shut from 6 a.m. on Wednesday till 6 a.m. on Thursday. Emergency, casualty, ICU and related services will function normally.
"Section 32 of the NMC Bill provides for licensing of 3.5 lakh unqualified non-medical persons to practise modern medicine. The term Community Health Provider has been vaguely defined to allow anyone connected with modern medicine to get registered in NMC and be licensed to practise modern medicine," said R.V. Asokan, Secretary General, IMA.
"This would mean that all paramedics including pharmacists, nurses, physiotherapists, optometrists and others are becoming eligible to practise modern medicine and prescribe independently. This law legalizes quackery," said Asokan.