(Published in Millennium Post on 26 June, 2012)
Doctors belonging to private as well as government hospitals in Tamil Nadu went on strike on June 25, responding to the national strike called by the Indian Medical Association (IMA).
The strike has been called to protest against amendments to the Clinical Establishment Act, 2010, and National Commission for Human Resources for Health (NCHRH) Bill, 2011, proposed by the Union Health Ministry.
The Private Hospitals Board of Tamil Nadu has called the bill “anti-patient, anti-public and anti doctors.”
Dr AK Ravikumar of the IMA said the bill hampers the autonomy of professional bodies like the IMA, and vests all control of the State Medical Councils on a Central government commission, which could include non-medical professionals.
Doctors are also objecting to provisions in the Bill which suggest medical professionals registered with the State Medical Council can only practise in the state where he or she is registered.
The day-long strike, in which more than 26,000 doctors across the country are participating, is to demand the withdrawal of the Bill, and autonomy for professional bodies, without government interference. They are also against the introduction of a qualification exam at the national level for doctors.
Doctors wore black badges in protest at the Trichy Government Hospital. Demonstrations were held in Coimbatore, Madurai and the state capital Chennai.
However, all the protesting doctors said emergency cases would be attended to, though medical establishments would be closed until 6:00 PM.