The recent development of the Medical Council of India, ordering the suspension of an orthopedic surgeon, for practicing with a lapsed licence, has indeed brought the issue of Medical Council Registrations into the limelight. The said orthopedic surgeon, whose complaint was filed with the council in an alleged medical negligence case, while being exonerated by the council on the negligence charges, was held guilty on account of praciticing without license
The decision has drawn a mixed response from the members of the medical community, with some upholding the decision stating that the law is clear on the matter of registrations, while others calling this penalty as harsh.
With the decision, one thing is clear – that the law of the land has to be followed, which calls for registration of all medical practitioner who is engaged in the practice of modern scientific system of medicine and all its branches and has qualifications as prescribed in the First, Second or Third Schedules to the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 (Central Act 102 of 1956)
While it is unacceptable that doctors are unaware of these requirements, yet, there are a large number of doctors who do not have valid council registration and stand at risk of harsh punishment if this is brought to the notice of the respective councils.
This lapse is because of certain myths that prevail in the minds of medical practitioners and at this juncture it is appropriate to highlight the same. So Following are certain myths that prevent doctors from getting valid registrations, as well as the reality of the same.
Myth 1: Council Registrations are only required for Private Practice.
Truth: All doctors need to have a valid registration in order to practice under the law irrespective of government, semi-govt, army or private practice
With a myth that council registrations are only a must for doctors engaged in private practice, many doctors in the government service avoid getting registrations, stating that they are working in government hospitals and hence do not need registrations. Reality stands that all state medical councils maintain a register containing the particulars and details of all medical practitioners working in that state including both government and private practice doctors.
Myth 2: PG Medical Students do not need council registration
Truth: All doctors, on passing their MBBS from a recognized medical institution need council registration.
Post graduate and Super-Speciality Medical Students often think that they do not need council registration, as they are students and not in independent practice. However, the reality is that post-MBBS, the moment a medical student gets a doctor tag, they need to get themselves registered in order to practice. Even PG /SS students, have treat patients as a part of their studies and hence need to have a valid registration
Myth 3: Having MCI registration removes the need for State Registrations
MCI maintains a register of particulars of medical practitioners of states/UTs where there are no independent state medical councils. Wherever the state medical councils exist under a State Act, every doctor practicing in that state/UT need to register with that state medical council iinrder to practice in that particular state/UT
Myth 4: Additional Qualification of PG/SS need not necessarily be registered
Truth: All additional qualifications under the Schedule, Post MBBS should be updated with the respective council. Only after that updating, a medical practitioner will be allowed to practice the specialty of the additional qualification.
Myth 5: One-time Registration is enough
Truth: As per the respective state councils, renewal is mandatory protocol. Each state medical councils specifies the duration as well as conditions of renewal. Just like, one renews their driving license in order to drive, similarly, licenses need to be renewed at periodic intervals as laid down by the different state councils. This is the law of the land and hence needs to be followed.
Myth 6: One state council registration is enough
Truth: Unless specified otherwise, One state medical council registration only allows to practice within the boundary of that state. In order to practice in another area, doctors require obtaining valid registration with the new state medical council.
(The author is the founder of Medical Dialogues)