Doctors from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and other institutes have been ‘invited’ by the Parliamentary Standing Committee of Health and Family Welfare on the National Medical Commission Bill to discuss the National Medical Commission Bill (NMC), 2017.
The discussion has been called for on February 27 according to The Hindu. The medical fraternity has expressed apprehensions over sections of the Bill, claiming that some of these are unreasonable. The country has also seen several protests in the recent past with regard to the Bill.
The Bill was tabled in Parliament in December 2017 and was later referred to a Parliamentary Standing Committee after debates. The Bill primarily seeks the National Medical Commission to oversee the working of medical education in India in place of the existing Medical Commission of India (MCI).
It also proposes the introduction of a bridge course, on passing which, practitioners of alternative medicines including homoeopathy and Ayurveda would be allowed to prescribe allopathic drugs. This, they believe, would address the long-standing issue of shortage of doctors in several rural pockets of the country.
The Bill also seeks the introduction of a separate qualifying exam which medical students are expected to clear to be able to get a license to practice. This is besides the usual MBBS degree examination.
Doctors have been against passing of the Bill stating that it is unfair, and anti-patients and doctors. In the past, Federation of Resident Doctors’ Association noted that the proposed legislation will “cripple” the functioning of the medical professionals by making them completely answerable to the bureaucracy and non-medical administrators. Even the Indian Medical Association had expressed dissatisfaction claiming there was hypocrisy in the Bill. They opined that while, on one hand, it was getting tough for allopathic doctors to be able to practice, the Bill was in favour of ayush practitioners.
Ayush practitioners have, however, stood in favour of the Bill and said that it would be of great benefit for patients. “The bridge course will help standardise treatment and improve public health services,” said AIHDF member Sunil Takalkar told The Hindu.