Healthcare services at government-run hospitals across Telangana and Andhra Pradesh were paralyzed on Thursday as the doctors went on strike to protest against the National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill, 2019.
Patients in major hospitals in both the state suffered as doctors boycotted duties except emergency services.
The 24-hour-long strike called by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) began at 6 a.m., adding to the hardships of poor patients in the government hospitals where the healthcare services remained affected due to strike by junior doctors for over a week.
The services came to a standstill at Osmania General Hospital, Gandhi Hospital, Nizam's Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS), Niluofer Hospital, Fever Hospital in Hyderabad, MGM Hospital in Warangal and other government-run hospitals in Nizamabad, Karimnagar, Adilabad, Khammam and other towns of Telangana.
The healthcare services also came to a halt at hospitals in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh. Patients at King George Hospital in Visakhapatnam, Ruia Hospital in Tirupati and other hospitals in Vijayawada, Guntur, Kurnool and other towns were also suffering due to doctors' strike.
IMA has 1,500 member doctors in the two Telugu states. The doctors staged protests at their respective hospitals, calling the NMC anti-poor and anti-doctor. They sought amendments to the NMC Bill, which was passed last week by both Houses of Parliament. Doctors and medicos say the Bill will promote quackery as it allows non-MBBS graduates to become licensed practitioners. They believe the Bill would affect the quality of medical education and thereby working against the interests of the poor.
Meanwhile, the indefinite strike by junior doctors entered the eighth day on Thursday. They intensified the strike by staging 'maha dharna' at Indira Park in Hyderabad.
"We are fighting for people not for us. This Bill will damage the entire system affecting the people's interests," said one of the protesting medicos.
The junior doctors said the changes to be brought in medical education would affect its quality and many youngsters aspiring to become doctors will not be able to afford it.