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All India Radio (AIR) : Cabinet Approval to National Medical Commission Bill

  • IASbaba
  • January 20, 2018
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All India Radio
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Cabinet Approval to National Medical Commission Bill

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Search 17th December 2017 http://www.newsonair.com/Main_Audio_Bulletins_Search.aspx

TOPIC: General Studies 2

  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  • Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

For long, the medical education sector was under scrutiny for corruption and unethical practices. The National Medical Commission Bill was introduced. It will repeal the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 and provide for a medical education system which ensures:

  • Availability of adequate and high-quality medical professionals
  • Adoption of the latest medical research by medical professionals
  • Periodic assessment of medical institutions
  • Effective grievance redressal mechanism

Highlights

  • National Medical Commission (NMC) is to be set up to frame policies for regulating medical institutions and medical professionals, determine fees of private medical institutions and deemed universities, assess requirements of healthcare-related human resources and infrastructure and more.
  • Medical Advisory Council, a primary platform to through which the states/union territories can put forth their views and concerns before the NMC
  • Uniform National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test for admission to undergraduate medical education.
  • Practitioners of Ayurveda and other traditional Indian systems of medicine the licence to prescribe allopathic drugs after they have passed a ‘bridge course.’

In brief

  • This bill was long pending. Like the government has changed the planning commission into NITI aayog, similarly, Medical Council of India will be revamped into a new body which will have a 25-member National Medical Commission selected by a search committee headed by the cabinet secretary. The composition of the body will take place for the positive direction and composition of work.
  • Government will be able to control 40% of the seats in private medical colleges which is a positive move in regulating the fee structure in private colleges. Most of the students are from rural background and want subsidized medical education. Earlier, the fees were nominal, there was no donation and capitation. Since independence there were only 6-7 medical colleges but over the years they have increased manifold. The growth in the government medical colleges was not sharp and big as compared to private medical college.
  • Few medical colleges are opened in rural areas. 60% of medical students come from rural background or smaller cities. Once the students get habit of city lifestyle, it becomes difficult for them to go serve in rural areas. Thus, opening of medical colleges in rural areas is good move.
  • Though colleges are added in rural India, there is need of more nursing institutions, pharmacists and more doctors.
  • The current mindset in the young generation is that medicine studies are time taking and takes long to establish the career. So less young students are opting for medical education. The medical education and its system should get right so that more people do graduation and post graduation in medicine.
  • Registration of medical colleges will be done and then only they will have independence to control those seats.

Criticism

  • The NMC is proposed to be government-nominated chairman and members, thereby it becoming a body run by government.
  • In merging of Ayush with modern medicine, many fear it as a potential threat to patients and risky as an untested medical “trial.”
  • Medical colleges will need permission only once for establishment and recognition, with no need for annual renewal. The quality of monitoring can be diluted.

Reforms needed

Overall improvement in health care system of country is the basic need today. There has to be demand fulfilment of better doctors nurses, medical institutions as well as an efficient regulatory authority for the same.

The need of medical system is changing. There is more of private hospitals in the fray, corporate hospitals, government colleges are increasing their seats in post graduation. However, primary healthcare should be considered the most crucial one to maintain the health of the nation. For this, there is a need to reform private hospitals providing healthcare. Also, medical insurance should not be over-premium that people cannot afford it.

The concept of family doctor has gone who would know the patient’s history. Today the doctor refers to ten specialists as he himself is unable to diagnose as he has lost touch with regular patients. This gives rise to unnecessary tests, reports and inflated medical bills.  Thus, it is a matter of individual audit where the doctor has to audit itself at the time of making diagnosis and prescribing medicines. Nobody can audit a doctor but himself as she/he takes oath while coming into this profession and should remain true to their profession.

Conclusion

There is a need for structural integrity, structural vision, and institutional vision in reforming the medical education system in India. There should be regional medical councils for looking after the compliances of NMC and Medical Assessment and Rating Board. There can also be standards set for individual medical professionals and professional medical affiliations.

Though much is done to provide better health care to the people, India still remains low in many healthcare indices. For this, the population explosion is to be blamed as whatever the government does, it gets diluted by growth of population. However, these concerns have to be dealt separately and make sure that each person gets quality healthcare.

Connecting the dots:

  • Healthcare is an important area for development of nation and thus matters the quality of healthcare practitioners. Critically examine the salient features of National Medical Commission Bill 2017.

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