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Times Of India
26 June 2012

Mumbai: The Indian Medical Association (IMA)’s call for strike on Monday was largely successful with most doctors in the city and Thane staying away from work in protest against two central bills. Outpatient departments of several hospitals, individual clinics and nursing homes remained partially functional.

More than 3,000 doctors assembled in different parts of the city to discuss clauses of the proposed Clinical Establishment Act that makes it mandatory for single–doctor establishments to handle emergency cases, have qualified nurses, AC waiting rooms, maintain records, allot 450 sq ft space for dispensary, etc. A doctors’ team met public health minister Suresh Shetty, asking him to customize the bill as per local conditions.

IMA’s Dr Shivkumar Utture said, "We told him, we are ready to come under the Act but not in its current form." Dr Lalit Kapoor of the Association of Medical Consultants said there was over 90% compliance among consultants. More than 1,000 medicos held aprotest march in Thane. How ethical is it for docs to strike work, SC asks IMA

New Delhi: The Supreme Court did not stay Monday’s nationwide strike by the 1.78 lakh–strong Indian Medical Association (IMA) because of impracticality of implementation of its order, but agreed to examine the ethicality of the strike by the doctors.

A bench of Justices H L Gokhale and Gyan Sudha Misra expected doctors not to resort to such measures in the interest of the public and said the PIL filed by NGO ‘People for Better Treatment (PBT)’ had given very good reasons for judicial scrutiny of the petition raising important questions of law and ethics.

The bench, while seeking IMA’s response to the PIL in four weeks, said it would not order a stay on IMA’s decision asking its members to strike work on June 25, as it would be difficult to ensure implementation of such a direction.

The Centre told the court through senior advocate T S Doabia that a strike by doctors was impermissible. Petitioner’s counsel senior advocate M N Krishnamani said the strike breached the Hippocratic oath, which is a promise by healthcare professionals to practice medicine ethically and honestly.

The NGO had filed the PIL through advocate Rabin Majumder last week and it came up for hearing on Friday. But the matter could not be taken up on Friday as one of the judges on the bench recused citing personal reasons.

The petitioner said the strike violated several provisions of the code of ethics and regulations framed by the Medical Council of India, which included maintaining good medical practice, obligation to sick and promise not to neglect the patient.

The IMA had called the strike protesting against introduction of the National Commission for Human Resources in Health (NCHRH) Bill, 2011, implementation of Clinical Establishment Act warranting certain standards for clinics run in small localities and demanding complete revamp of the health regulator, Medical Council of India.

The IMA claims that NCHRH bill would render elected regulatory bodies like MCI, Dental Council of India, Pharmacist Council and Nursing Council redundant, allowing concentration of unhindered regulatory powers in the government as its nominees would invariably form a majority in the proposed health commission.

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