Allopathy vs AYUSH in Maharashtra: Medical Council order sparks controversy
Mumbai: Controversy has erupted over the recent advisory issued by the Maharashtra Medical Council (MMC) wherein the council had called the association of allopathic doctors and doctors practising alternative medicines as a 'breach of ethics'.
In its advisory, the MMC reiterated the important guidelines related to professional conduct by practitioners of modern medicine laid down under the IMC act and regulations as well as the Maharashtra Medical Council Act.
As a part of the advisory, the state medical council stated that any Registered Medical Practitioner (RMP) treating patients with practitioners not registered with the council or visiting hospitals where patients by practitioners not registered under the Maharashtra Medical Council Act, 1965, would be considered a breach of ethics.
MMC also directed the doctors to write their graduation degree 'MBBS' in bold to avoid identity crisis with surgeons with degrees in Ayurveda stream.
The order read:
"a) RMP's should mention their basic degree of registration with MMC i.e. MBBS under which they have been primarily registered followed by their additional qualifications registered with MMC e.g. MBBS, MS, or MBBS, MD, etc. on their letterhead, clinic boards, visiting cards, etc.
b) It would be a breach of ethics if RMPs are associated professionally (while treating patients) with practitioners not registered with MMC.
c) RMP's visiting Hospitals wherein patients are treated by way of modern medicine by practitioners not registered under the ACT shall be also considered as a breach of Ethics.
d) RMP's registered with Maharashtra Medical Council shall only prescribe Modern [Allopathic] medicines.
Showing firm opposition to this order, the Maharashtra Council of Indian Medicine (MCIM) has now written to state medical education minister Amit Deshmukh, stating "the order is illegal" and "should be cancelled".
This comes at the onset of the dispute among the Ayurveda and the Allopathy doctors over the Centre's recent decision with respect to an amendment in the Indian Medicine Central Council (Post Graduate Ayurveda Education) Regulations, 2016, by the Central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM), a statutory body under the Union Ayush ministry to regulate the Indian systems of medicine. Issued last month, the amendment authorised post-graduate students of Ayurveda to receive training and practice Shalyathanthra (surgery) and Shalakyathanthra (diagnose and prevention).
CCIM notified that 58 surgical procedures covering general surgery, urology, surgical gastroenterology, ENT, ophthalmology and dental medicine can be performed by the Ayurveda post-graduates in 'Shalyathanthra' and 'Shalakyathanthra' subjects too.
The CCIM move has drawn a lot of criticism from doctors of modern medicine, leading to a series of protests by IMA members across the country this month.
Lakhs of doctors, including those employed in government hospitals, wore black armbands at work and hit the streets in small groups to agitate against the CCIM's notification.
The IMA has been openly opposing such policy moves by the Centre, especially the plan to mix modern medicine with the traditional systems of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) in coming years.
Moreover, recently the IMA moved the Supreme Court against a Central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM) order. "The petition was filed on Saturday to urge the court to set aside or quash the amendment to regulations to the Postgraduate Ayurveda Surgery by CCIM and declare that the council does not have the powers to include modern medicine in the syllabus," IMA President Dr Rajan Sharma said.
Meanwhile, terming the MMC order as unethical, Dr Ashutosh Gupta, president of MCIM, told Mirror, "The orders issued by MMC are unethical and how can they overrule the decision taken by the state government. This is going to harm and effect the health care in the state at large. The public is the one who will suffer due to this."
However, Dr Shivkumar Utture, president of MMC, then clarified to the daily that the orders were issued just to revise what the existing laws are and provisions they have to follow. "What we have issued is there in the MMC Act 1965 and Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquettes and Ethics) Regulations, 2002. We are just reminding the practitioners so that they follow them. If any of them are found violating them, they have to bear the consequences," he said.