Doctors outcry leads National Medical Commission Bill to Standing committee
New Delhi: Opposing the National Medical Commission Bill 2017, more than 2.9 lakh doctors observing a 12-hour nationwide strike in protest. A a result, the NMC Bill which was introduced to replace Medical Council of India (MCI) has been referred to the standing committee.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar informed the Lok Sabha "after taking into the consideration the demands of several members of the House and medical fraternity, the National Medical Commission Bill has been referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee," reports The Hindu
Union Minister Ananth Kumar also requested that standing committee report be submitted before Budget session.
Defending the said bill, Union Health Minister, JP Nadda said in the Rajya Sabha that the NMC is for the benefit of the medical profession and the country, reports The Indian Express
National Medical Commission Bill - pic.twitter.com/IeZB4d8EyA
— Jagat Prakash Nadda (@JPNadda) January 2, 2018
The National Medical Commission Bill 2017, which seeks to replace MCI with a new body, to ensure transparency, was introduced in the Lok Sabha recently. The bill also seeks to allow practitioners of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy, to practice modern medicine once they complete a short term "bridge course".
Clause 49 of the Bill calls for a joint sitting of the National Medical Commission, the Central Council of Homoeopathy and the Central Council of Indian Medicine at least once a year "to enhance the interface between homoeopathy, Indian Systems of Medicine and modern systems of medicine".
In a press release, a copy of which is with Medical Dialogues, IMA stated " It is unacceptable to IMA and modern medical professionals of India." IMA called it as "Anti people and anti-patient Bill"
The medical association further said, "NMC is an anti poor bill with pro-private management clauses. The bill purported to eradicate corruption is designed to open the floodgates of corruption. A bill to regulate the medical education and medical practice without the consequences of the medical profession."
In response to NMC bill which is widely apposed by IMA the newly-appointed IMA national president Dr Ravi Wankhedkar said "The IMA headquarter hereby declares closure of all routine services for 12 hours from 6 AM to 6 PM tomorrow across the country."
The Delhi Medical Association (DMA) also supported the IMA's protest and called upon all private and corporate hospitals in the national capital to keep their OPD services closedIMA members also held a meeting with the Union Health minister J P Nadda and conveyed their concerns over the Bill
IMA president Dr K K Aggarwal, the former president of the IMA, said they have already written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the health minister urging them to redraft the Bill and rectify some of its provisions to protect the interest of the medical practitioners.
Even the largest body on Resident doctors in India FORDA has come out in support of the IMA in their fight against the current NMC bill by wearing black ribbon during working hours. Dr. Choksey President FORDA Said, "FORDA India hereby stands in support of the 12 hour (6a.m to 6 p.m) Strike called by IMA against the proposed National Medical Commission (NMC Bill). The bill in its current form is unacceptable as it is anti-poor, anti-people, non-representative, undemocratic and anti-federal in nature. Considering the hardships that the patients would have to bear in the event of a strike, the residents of medical colleges and hospitals associated with FORDA will be wearing Black Ribbon on 2nd January, against the proposed NMC Bill. We might be forced to take some hard steps for our demands in the near future in line with IMA."
Demands of IMA
The issue of Doctors strike came to an end after the Bill was referred to the Parliamentary committee. The Indian Medical Association has raised the following demands,
- The NMC should reflect the aspiration and the vision of the medical profession of the country. IMA demands one elected representative in NMC from the registered Medical Graduates of every state (and not in the Medical Advisory Council).
- No separate registration for AYUSH. The minimum qualification to practice modern medicine shall remain MBBS. No bridge courses to MBBS. No joint council meetings to formulate them. IMA will facilitate the deployment of 65,000 fresh MBBS graduates graduating every year in Rural Health Services with appropriate working conditions and incentives.
- No licentiate exam after final MBBS examination. IMA proposes common All India Final MBBS examination
- Legitimate inspection and appropriate regulation on starting and running a Medical College. 85 percent government fixed fee in private medical colleges.