The National Medical Commission Bill, 2017, which seeks to replace the existing apex medical education regulator, the Medical Council of India (MCI), with a new body, was moved by the government in the house on Friday.
Healthcare services at many private hospitals in the country are expected to be hit due to the shutdown. "It is requested that all necessary measures may be taken to ensure that the patient healthcare and emergency services are run smoothly", it added.
While services at government hospitals will not be affected, the doctors will observe a "Black Day" and wear black arm bands as they see patients.
IMA has been strongly opposing the bill, saying it will "cripple" the functioning of medical professionals. It also proposes to allow practitioners of alternative medicines, such as homoeopathy and ayurveda, practice allopathy after completing a "bridge course".
In Kerala, while the doctors at the state-run medical colleges made a decision to keep away from the Out Patient Department for an hour from 8:00 am-9:00 am and at the state-run hospitals from 9:00-10:00 am, in many private hospitals the protests would continue till 6:00 pm. "So, our OPD services will go on as per routine but we are wearing a black band in protest".
The implementation of the new bill of the government under National Commission proposal will strengthen the medical colleges.
"NMC is an anti-poor bill with pro-private management clauses".
"Unscientific mixing of systems and empowering of other practitioners through bridge courses will only pave the way for substandard doctors and substandard medical practice".
Some other contentions with the bill include representation of just five states at any given point in time in the NMC, bringing the state medical councils under the NMC.
Dr. Kallivayalil, also a former vice president of the Indian Medical Association, said the Bill would be disastrous for the country's public health sector. For instance, colleges will be allowed to start post-graduate courses and increase intake of students all on their own - without seeking permission from the NMC.