National Medical Commission Bill introduced a new advisory body, which seeks to replace the corruption dirties Medical Council of India (MCI). It is an apex policy making and regulatory body for medical education and profession in the country. NMC Bill was introduced for regulating and developing medical education, medical institutions and medical profession.
Its members are selected on merit by a search-and-select panel and not elected. The selection process is transparent, unlike MCI. The members of NMC Bill comprises of a Chairman, a Member Secretary, 8 ex-official members and 10 part time members.
National Medical Commission Bill Features:
Below are the National Medical Commission Bill features that absolutely outline the purpose of the bill.
- Commission will be advised by a parallel body, the Medical Advisory Council, which will comprise of representatives from all states and two union territories.
- A uniform National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) for admission to under-graduate medical education.
- Private colleges will be allowed to set fees only 60 per cent of their seats, whereas, fees for the remaining 40 per cent seats will be dictated by the government. This is a standout feature of the bill that seeks to give students a relief from excessive charges of fees by the colleges.
- A National Licentiate Examination (NLE) after the completion of undergraduate medical education
- All doctors should be registered in the National Register to practice in India.
Bridge Course for Ayush doctors:
Bridge Course for Ayush doctors, section 49 of National Medical Commission Bill, seeks to allow the allopathy doctors to practice modern medicine (allopathy). The course is implemented to build connections among various systems of medicine. Moreover, it aims to promote medical pluralism in the country.
Seekers of NMC Bridge Course will be allowed to prescribe allopathic medicines despite being the Ayurveda practitioners. The idea behind it was to accommodate the shortage of doctors in the rural areas. National Medical Commision (NMC) is asserting that the imparting knowledge of modern medicine to the doctors from other streams and allowing them to practice it at a primary level will be beneficial for the India rural sector.
NMC bill bridge course – Merits and Demerits:
Implemented with pure intentions, NMC Bill Bridge Course has been creating a lot of controversy among the doctors across India. However, the Indian government had its own strong reasons for initiating the course. Its objective is to create healthcare facilities in the rural sectors of India.
On the other hand, Allopathic doctors believe that National Medical Commission Bill promotes unscientific mixing of systems of different medicines. Some of them also consider it as unethical.
With all the debates, NMC bill pros and cons has their own significance.
- It will boost the revenues of Allopathy pharmaceuticals.
- Bridge Course for Ayush Doctors will create availability of trained doctors, which would save lives by providing basic medical services in the villages and rural areas.
- Admissions of students in Ayush medical colleges will rise.
- The NMC Bill Bridge Course will subvert other medical streams.
- Homeopathy as a profession will lose its essence and appeal.
- Patients will receive inferior medical services.
Resident Doctors strike:
On January 2, the Indian Medical Association suspended the services of private hospitals in India. In protest against the National Medical Commission Bill, the routine services were shut down for 12 hours and a group of 3 lakh doctors went on the strike, that day. OPDs of private hospitals were hit by the doctor’s strike. However, emergency and critical services were continued.
Being strongly against the National Medical Commission Bill, the Indian Medical Association raised the allegations against the Bridge Course for Ayush doctors and its provisions. It described the bill as anti-people and anti-patient” as well as being “anti-poor”.
The President of IMA, had said, “The NMC Bill will cripple the functioning of the medical profession by making it completely answerable to the bureaucracy and non-medical administrators.”
Although, the resident doctors strike was called off after the Lok Sabha referred the bill to standing committee.
National Medical Commission bill status:
The Lok Sabha, as a recent status of National Medical Commission Bill, has sent the highly controversial bill to the parliamentary standing committee on health. The panel’s report is anticipated to come before the budget session.
The Indian Medical Association protested against the Bridge Course for Ayush doctors, claiming that it will lead to major flaws in the medical system of India. It has pointed out several objections in the bill. Yet, the NMC bill status hangs in the balance, at present.
As we await to see how everything discloses, yet only time will state whether the judiciary will hear the protests of Indian Medical Association or the National Medical Commission Bill 2017 will be passed.