NO Bridge Course for the time being: Rajya Sabha Committee Decision
New Delhi: The Long wait is over. The Rajya Sabha committee, which had been forwarded the National Medical Commission Bill by the Parliament for examination and recommending the changes, has just given out its recommendations. On the issue of the contentious bridge course, the committee has put forward its view that the bridge course should not be made a mandatory provision in the present Bill.
Medical Dialogues team had earlier reported that Clause 49 of the NMC Bill provides for joint sittings of the Commission, Central Councils of Homoeopathy and Indian Medicine to enhance interface between their respective systems of medicine. Such meeting shall be held at least once a year. The joint sitting may decide on approving educational modules to develop bridges across the various systems of medicine and promote medical pluralism.
The clause for bridge course was immediately rejected by sections of the Indian Medical Fraternity, with IMA clearly stating that the clause is unacceptable to it and modern medical professionals of India. Doctors across the country have even taken to streets organising various strikes to oppose the same clause.
With the bill being forwarded to a parliamentary panel for taking the viewpoints of the stakeholders and make appropriate changes to the bill, the panel has now put forward its suggestions stating that
The Committee is of the view that the bridge course should not be made a mandatory provision in the present Bill.
Having said that, the committee also took into account the viewpoint given by the government, highlighting the shortage of the healthcare professionals and meeting the NHP goals by facilitating trained AYUSH practitioners to expand their skill sets through a Bridge Course and provide preventive allopathic care at primary health centres. The government also cited examples of Maharashtra, Assam, UK, Haryana, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh etc. which have already amended their Acts and permitted AYUSH professionals to practice modern systems and prescribe all modern medicines.
With health being a state subject and taking the above argument in mind, the committee has now left the decision in the hands of various state governments to decide and implement measures to enhance the capacity of the existing healthcare professionals including AYUSH practitioners, B.Sc (Nursing), BDS, B.Pharma etc to address their State specific primary healthcare issues in rural areas
.....the Committee appreciates the need to build the capacity of the existing human resources in the healthcare sector, to address the shortage of healthcare professionals so as to achieve the objectives of the National Health Policy, 2017. The Committee feels that every State has its own specific healthcare issues and challenges. The Committee, therefore, recommends that the State Governments may implement measures to enhance the capacity of the existing healthcare professionals including AYUSH practitioners, B.Sc (Nursing), BDS, B.Pharma etc to address their State specific primary healthcare issues in the rural areas. The Committee also recommends that adequate budgetary resources may also be provided to meet the said objective.....
With the above observations the committee also strongly observed that medical practice without requisite qualifications will not be tolerated
The Committee recommends that the healthcare professionals who are practicing without the requisite qualifications anywhere in the country may attract penal provisions.
Ordering that consequential changes may be made in all the Clauses of the Bill, wherever applicable, the committee called for the adoption of the clause, Subject to above recommendations
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