New Delhi: Answering point by point to the Health Ministry on its recent Clarifications in the form of FAQs on the issue of National Medical Commission Bill 2017, the Indian Medical Association has now released a point by point response to the said clarifications in the bill.
Sternly opposing the clauses on the Ayush Bridge course, National Licentiate Exam, Limited number of elected members in the bill as well as lack of adequate representation to the states, the IMA termed the bill as Anti -poor, pro-rich, undemocratic, non representative, quixotic and anti-student.
” Inspite of the process of consultation of PSC with all stakeholders is going on the ministry of health has put up FAQs on its website on NMC. This are not only misleading half truths but against the spirit of democratic working of PSC. In this regard, IMA has come out with its meticulous observations on this FAQs so as to clear the unnecessary confusion ministry is trying to create. ” Dr Ravi Wankhedkar , National President, IMA told Medical Dialogues team
Clearly opposing the justification issued by the ministry on the AYUSH bridge course, the Association stated
The provision for a ‘Bridge course’ in the proposed bill is nothing short of providing a ‘Backdoor entry’ to AYUSH and Homeopathy practitioners into Medical Profession which apart from generating a ‘mixed pathy’ would also severely endanger the pure practice of Ayurveda and Homeopathy which the Government proclaims of patronizing in a big way. This by itself is also an antithesis to the entire policy declaration and objectives structured for evoking a separate Department of AYUSH as a whole. It was also be a large public danger since persons without knowledge and experience will start treating patients in another system of medicine.
The association also rebuffed the enabling of AYUSH practitioners to practice in rural areas
Any compromised, half-baked, ill prepared health practitioner through an impermissible modality in the name of providing manpower to the rural healthcare delivery would amount to generating compromised health personnel for the rural healthcare and thereby treating them as ‘second grade citizens’ and putting them to blatant discrimination and differentiation, which is constitutionally impermissible. It is very strange that instead of giving incentive to the medical professionals to serve in the rural areas, the bill will proposes to allowing unqualified persons to treat patients and risk their lives.
Responding to the justification to the Licentiate Exam given by the ministry, the IMA response stated,
” Introduction of a Licentiate Examination is an antithesis to the very objective of the proposed bill of augmenting the availability of trained health manpower for the rural healthcare delivery system. In reality those well over 50% of the medical graduates in a roundabout manner failing to clear the said licentiate examination would be unavailable for any health care delivery and thus would be rendered ineligible to practice medicine. The nature of impact of the said examination could be more significant on the learners and graduates belonging to the marginalized and economically weaker sections as they would be devoid of even their livelihood. This would also undermine the sanctity of certifying standards of the various examinations conducting universities and questioning their certifying standards as a whole.”
The association, on the other hand, favoured the idea of a common final year exam, rather than a separate exit exam. ” The final MBBS examination itself being converted into a licentiate examination is a welcome step. The same would be in tune with the objectives of the bill to augment the availability of the trained manpower for the healthcare delivery system.” the association stated
Opposing the nominated nature rather than elected nature of the proposed NMC as well as lack of adequate representation from all states, the Association stated
” The main concern is that proposed NMC Bill will not be a representative body. It will neither have a national character in terms of nationwide representation, nor a representative character in terms of being a judicious mix of elected and nominated members….. ” the rebuttal stated on the issue of lack of adequate representation from the medical fraternity as well as the states. ”
…A person unknown to the technical functioning of the medical profession or medical education can never understand the pros and cons faced by the persons of the fraternity nor can such person be competent to give suggestions without understanding the nitty-gritty of the system…,”
The association has clearly demanded that In order to ensure that there is greater autonomy the member secretary of the Commission for has to be appointed by the Commission and must belong to the stream of modern medicine. The association also opposed the retrenchment of the current MCI staff, calling the proposed move not only ‘inhuman, barbaric’ but also bad in law.
On the issue of retention of the parallel PG program of DNB in the Proposed NMC, IMA called the proposed move questionable.
Retention of the parallel PG degree in the form of DNB is questionable because the parity thereto itself is disputable on several academic and administrative considerations. The courses being mostly run in non-teaching hospitals which are devoid of full time faculty, handy clinical material , structured teaching schedule, required academic monitoring and planned skill inculcation. This results in compromised teaching and learning and therefore ending up in generation of compromised specialists and a resultant compulsive compromise with the resultant health care delivery system catering to the cause of people in the country.
On the issue of only 40% seats being regulated in terms of fees, the response stated
The provision for regulation of fees for seats upto 40% means anything from 0 to 40%, whereby at any given point of time 60% of the seats in private medical college would be outside the said ambit of prescription and the largest chunk could be freely available for the private managements to have a free field. As such, the said discretionary provision is pro–rich and anti poor. Moreover fees of all 100% seats in a private medical colleges are fixed by the respective state Governments
To read the Point-by-point response, click on the following link