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New Delhi: The nationwide doctors’ strike on Friday, called against the government's decision to allow post-graduate Ayurvedic doctors to perform surgeries, may cause major disruptions in healthcare services across the country amid the covid-19 pandemic.

The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has called for withdrawal of all non-essential and non-covid services between 6 am and 6 pm on Friday. However, emergency services, including casualty, labour rooms and emergency surgeries, will be exempt from the strike along with ICU and CCU.

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IMA has indicated that the agitation may intensify in the coming weeks.

Private hospitals across the country have raised concern over the strike and are taking steps to ensure smooth functioning of services.

“We have advised the patients to confirm their out-patient department (OPD) appointments prior to arriving at the hospital, in case a clinician participates in the strike in an individual capacity," a spokesperson at Nanavati Super Speciality Hospital, Mumbai said.

The impact may be felt at non-covid government hospitals, said Rajeev Sood, dean, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital. “We are only calling patients that cant be managed at home."

The IMA alleged that misappropriating 58 surgical techniques and procedures of several specialties will end up only in compromising with patient care and safety.

“...the purity and identity of Ayurveda stands equally challenged. That the council prescribed modern medicine text books and Ayurveda institutions practiced surgery with the assistance of modern medical doctors cannot be reason enough to legitimize encroachment into the jurisdiction and competencies of modern medicine," said Rajan Sharma, national president, IMA.

IMA has appealed to all sister professional speciality organisations, organisations of medical college teachers, government soctors, Resident Doctors Associations, medical students and hospitals associations to support its cause to retain the separate identity and existence of modern medicine, said RV Asokan, secretary general, IMA.

On Tuesday, doctors in private and government sectors across the country had demonstrated against the notification in ayurveda surgery by Central Council of Indian Medicine.

"The strike announced raises a question on the age old practices of our nation and questions the trust which has been passed over through generations in our country," said Smita Naram, co-founder Ayushakti Ayurveda.

There is a health emergency and pausing services, even if they are non-essential, can trigger a series of serious issues, she said, adding people with serious medical issues will be at risk if they don't get proper treatment in time.

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