'If the National Medical Commission Bill is introduced, it will destroy the system of modern medicine.'
IMAGE: On April 2, 1 million doctors and 300,000 medical students will go on strike protesting the National Medical Bill. These doctors believe the government's new legislation goes against modern medicine. Photograph: Shailesh Andrade/Reuters
Patients brace yourselves.
Doctors across the country have decided to go on an indefinite strike from April 2 if the government does not remove controversial clauses from the National Medical Commission Bill.
"All modern medicine doctors have begun to think that this government doesn't want to utilise our services as they want to utilise the services of non-modern medicine doctors. So, we are fine with that decision and we will help the government's move by withdrawing modern medicine services that we offer," a clearly upset Indian Medical Association President Dr Ravi Wankhedkar tells Rediff.com's Prasanna D Zore.
Why are Indian Medical Association doctors going on a nationwide strike from April 2? What are you trying to achieve with this strike?
Who said we (IMA doctors) are going on a strike?
There are newspaper reports that say so...
Then you must ask these newspapers about the authenticity of these reports.
So, you are not going on a nationwide strike from April 2?
I didn't say that. You first confirm your information. Words are very important.
Newspaper reports say 'Rejecting the recommendations of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the National Medical Commission bill, the Indian Medical Association, the largest body of private doctors in India, today called for an indefinite strike from April 2.'
Three things are not factual in what you read just now.
The first part that we have rejected the report (the Parliamentary Committee's recommendations) is absolutely right.
Two factual errors: One, the IMA is not a body of private doctors.
Secondly, it was not an IMA mahapanchayat, but a doctors' mahapanchayat where medical students, service doctors, junior doctors, medical teachers, speciality organisations along with the IMA (decided to go on a strike).
So, it was a representative mahapanchayat of 10 lakh doctors and three lakh medical students as students on March 24, along with various medical students' associations had their separate students' parliament (chhatra sansad) that resolved to go a national strike of medical students and young medicos from April 2.
The chhatra sansad gave us their resolution and our doctors' mahapanchayat accepted that resolution.
So, IMA has got nothing to do with this strike?
The IMA has decided to support their (the medical students' associations) move of going on a nationwide strike.
What the IMA has resolved is that if the NMC Bill is introduced it will destroy the system of modern medicine totally because it is going to allow non-modern medicine practitioners a free run to practise modern medicine.
In that situation, we are saying the government need not take so much effort of ruining and destroying the modern medicine system; we will withdraw (from practising modern medicine); (if this government wants) we will have a modern medicine-mukt Bharat.
All the modern medicine doctors have begun to think that this government doesn't want to utilise our services as they want to utilise the services of non-modern medicine doctors.
So, we are fine with that decision and we will help the government's move by withdrawing modern medicine services that we offer.
We were called by the (Union) health minister (Jagat Prakash Nadda) who asked us for certain documents. We have asked him for certain clarifications.