2016 in Review -7 major developments that impacted Indian healthcare in 2016
2016 was indeed an eventful year for the healthcare industry. The year saw some major developments, both at the level of policies as well as legislature, all having long term implications for medical practitioners.
Here are some important developments that impacted the healthcare industry in 2016.
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In May 2016, the Supreme Court came up with a judgement calling for one common entrance exam as a sole entry for medical and dental courses in the country. Taking cue from the court, the government also extended its ambit to PG and super-specialty courses in medicine and dentistry. While the first year saw difficulities and teething issues with the implementation, medical profession as well as the aspirants has hailed the decision alike in the long run
National Medical Commission Bill
While there were many questions raised on the credibility of the apex medical body, the Medical Council of India, medical profession was indeed surprised, when Niti Ayog of scrapping of MCI and creation of a NATIONAL MEDICAL COMMISSION to be the apex policy making body for regulating medical education in the country, which through the functioning of its four constituents boards will regulate the medical sector. While it was assumed that the bill would be passed by the parliament in the winter session of 2016.
Read more at Medical Dialogues: National Medical Commission to replace MCI, NITI Aayogm panel asks for comments
Oversight Committee on the Medical Council of India
The alleged corruption at the Medical Council of India, seemed to have even irked the Supreme Court this year, when the apex court decided to appoint an three member oversight committee over all the activities of MCI this year. As stated by the court The said Committee will have the authority to oversee all statutory functions under the MCI Act. All policy decisions of the MCI will require approval of the Oversight Committee. The Committee will be free to issue appropriate remedial directions. The Committee will function till the Central Government puts in place any other appropriate mechanism after due consideration of the Expert Committee Report.
Read more at Medical Dialogues:Retd Chief Justice to oversee all MCI operations
7th PAY Commission
It was that time of the decade, when the Union government announced the new pay commission for all central government Employees. The medical practitioners associated with the government were highly disappointed when the 7th pay commission recommended the percentage of HRA reduced from 25% (6th pay commission) to 20% of basic salary. Further, with this commission’s recommendation NPA shall not treated as part of basic pay, but as a separate allowance. This makes the HRA and therefore the final salary of the doctors lower than expected. Feeling the heat from doctors, when the union ministry announced the pay commission, if called for the appointment of special allowance committee, which shall be chaired by the Finance Secretary and shall have representation from the health ministry, which shall deliberate upon the issue of NPA. Till a final decision, all existing Allowances will continue to be paid at the existing rates. The decision of the committee is yet to come out
Read more at Medical Dialogues: Impact of 7th Pay Commission on Doctors
Read more at Medical Dialogues: Doctors feel cheated with 7th Pay Commission
Increase in Retirement Age of Doctor
Facing the immense shortage of doctors in the country, especially of qualified specialists, in the month of May 2016, PM Modi announnced, "“Be it at Central level or state level, now retirement age of doctors will be increased to 65.” Soon the government came out with the notification of enhancing the age of superannuation of the specialists of non-teaching and public health sub-cadres of Central Health Service and general duty medical officers of CHS to 65 years with immediate effect
Read more at Medical Dialogues: President increases retirement age of CHS doctors to 65 from 31st May, 2016
Read more at Medical Dialogues: Retirement age of all Doctors increased to 65 years: PM Modi
Call for Legible/ Generic Prescriptions
This year, The Medical Council of India, stressing on the importance of legibility of prescriptions came out with an official gazette notification asking the doctors to keep cleanliness on paper. It amended the Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) (Amendment) Regulations, 2016 to insert, " “Every physician should prescribe drugs with generic names legibly and preferably in capital letters and he/she shall ensure that there is a rational prescription and use of drugs”
Read more at Medical Dialogues: MCI gazette Notification asks for Legible Prescriptions
While the recent move of PM Modi of demonetization of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 has impacted each and every citizen of the country, healthcare delivery sector requires a special mention due to the nature of its work. While the government hospitals were allowed to accept the demonetized notes for the following month, same directions were not given the private hospitals, causing a hue and cry with the healthcare delivery. Many instances came out with the general public blaming the government and medical practitioners for not taking the demonetized notes, there were many instances of practitioners waiving their fee during the panic period all together.