The Indian Medical Association (IMA) on Tuesday, December 1 called for the withdrawal of non-essential and non-COVID services on December 11 in protest against the government's decision to allow post-graduate Ayurveda practitioners to perform general surgeries.
"Emergency services will continue, along with Intensive Care Units (ICU) and Cardiac/Coronary Care Units, but no elective procedures will be performed during the protest from 6 am to 6 pm," IMA announced.
The apex medical body also called for public demonstrations on December 8 and said that they will follow all COVID protocols and protest in small groups.
The Central Council of Indian Medicine, the regulatory body for the study and practice of Ayurveda in India on November 19, amended the Indian Medicine Central Council (Post Graduate Ayurveda Education) Regulations, 2016, to allow post-graduate students of Ayurveda to receive training and practice of "shalya" and "shalakya".
Shalya refers to general surgery, shalakya refers to diseases of the ear, nose, throat, head, eye, and oro-dentistry.
After criticism from the IMA, the Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy, or AYUSH, issued a statement clarifying that the amendment only inlcuded 58 surgical procedures
Terming the decision as a "deceptive camouflage of mixing the systems of medicine", the IMA rejected the clarification. "It is nothing but a blatant attempt at mixopathy and Khichdification of medical education and practice," the Indian Medical Association said last week.
"The recent policy tilt as evidenced in the medical pluralism advocated by the National Education Policy 2020 and the four committees of NITI Aayog for officially integrating the systems of medicine in medical education, practice, public health and administration as well as research ostensibly for a one nation one system policy will ring the death knell of modern medicine system as a whole," IMA National President Dr Rajan Sharma said.
The association strongly demanded an immediate withdrawal of the notification as well as the NITI Aayog's decision to form four committees.
Dr P Raghu Ram, president of the Association of Surgeons said, "General surgery is a part and parcel of modern medical science which cannot be mainstreamed with Ayurveda. Introducing training modules to the postgraduate curriculum of ayurvedic studies leading to titles such as MS (Ayurved) can potentially disrupt and jeopardise the basic standards of care and safety of patients."