In some relief to patients, emergency services resumed at several government hospitals in Delhi even as resident doctors continued their strike for the third consecutive day today against the National Medical Commission Bill (NMC Bill).
The doctors have been boycotting work and demonstrating certain provisions of the Bill since Thursday.
Heavy police presence was seen around the AIIMS campus and Safdarjung Hospital in the capital after protesters got agitated following a warning issued by the Medical Superintendent of the Safdarjung Hospital.
"I have been asked by the Ministry to inform you that if the striking doctors do not resume their duties immediately, strict punitive action like suspension/termination of services, vacation of hostel accommodation will be initiated immediately against all striking doctors," said Medical Superintendent Sunil Gupta in a letter addressed to the hospital's Resident Doctor's Association (RDAs) president.
Safdarjung Hospital's emergency services are still affected, a hospital staff said.
"The situation is under control as of now and police is trying to maintain peace and control the traffic situation in the area," a senior police official said.
Doctors of several associations have been expressing reservations over certain provisions of the bill and allege that these are "anti-poor, anti-student and undemocratic".
Those striking also include members of resident doctors' association of RML Hospital and those attached with the Federation of Resident Doctors Association (FORDA) and United Resident Doctors' Association (URDA).
However, around midnight, most of the RDAs announced that they have resumed emergency services.
From Saturday, a few Delhi government-run hospitals also resumed all the services, officials said.
Resident doctors at Dr Hedgewar Aarogya Sansthan in east Delhi's Shahdara, which gets a lot of outstation patients, went on strike on Friday morning and on Saturday resumed services, a senior official said.
Scores of doctors at other facilities continued their strike on Saturday, two days after the passage of the NMC Bill in the Rajya Sabha.
"The AIIMS RDA and SU (students union) stand steadfast in our decision to continue the ongoing indefinite strike against certain provisions of the NMC Bill along with medical fraternity across the nation.
"However, keeping in mind the interests of the patient community the emergency services have been resumed," the AIIMS RDA said in a statement.
Doctors have been raising concerns regarding role of community health providers (CHP) vis-a-vis a trained doctors, and the NEXT (National Exit Examination).
The AIIMS RDA further said, "We once again appeal to the lawmakers across the party lines to discuss and see to it that our concerns are addressed when the bill is reintroduced in Lok Sabha for ratification of official amendments made by Rajya Sabha, without which we will be forced to withdraw residents from emergency services once again."
Patients at AIIMS, LNJP Hospital and several other facilities had faced a harrowing time in the past two days in accessing medical care, many of whom had come from neighbouring cities.
Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has appealed to the striking doctors to resume work, saying the bill was in the "interest" of the doctors and patients.
The health minister made the appeal during a meeting with a delegation of resident doctors from AIIMS, and various other associations on Friday.