National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill: Legitimisation of Illegitimate
The new Bill National Medical Commission introduced in the parliament in the fag end of the year has dampened the New Year of Medical Fraternity. As if one strike was not enough to cause dismay to the public in Karnataka against the amended KPME Act 2017, one more strike which looked like would have created disarray to public on Pan India basis has been called off as the proposed New National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill, 2017 has been referred to standing committee.
This clearly shows the shortsightedness of our law makers in framing laws, which is either a populistic law or a Draconian Law like our present National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill, 2017. As more and more law makers are entering the Parliament because of money power, this is what we can expect. The present array of bills introduced in the parliament show the visionless nature of our parliamentarians.
The urgency of introduction of NMC Bill without sufficient inputs being taken from the Medical fraternity shows absolutely centralised nature of work culture of the present BJP government. The same logic done for the demonetization was somehow accepted as it was felt that demonetization was clean India initiative, hence it had to be secret.
No doubt that the functioning of the earlier Medical Council of India had been eroded by some elements of the same profession. But it doesn’t mean that you come with a new initiative which is more draconian than the earlier dispensation. The present BJP government cannot say that it will do the endless list of corrections (If the NMC Bill doesn’t fulfill the objectives of the Medical Education and Practice) later as they did for Demonetization and GST to the present NMC Bill.
The NMC Bill 2017 clearly shows the incapability of the Law makers in making a Bill which not only satisfies the ego of the law makers but also uplifts the standards of Medical Education and Practice in India.
First thing what the standing committee must do, is that they talk to the Indian Medical Association, take opinion of the Medical fraternity and the Public and then try to incorporate the best practices of the erstwhile MCI Act and come out with a better NMC Bill.
Some of the serious flaws which needs to be addressed are;
- Maintaining the democratic nature of appointment of Members as present in MCI Act in the New NMC Bill to an extent possible.
- A bridge course, is nothing but degradation of standards of Medical Practice of both Allopathic and Ayurvedic doctors, which must be expunged.
- Shortage of Medical doctors in rural areas can be overcome by positive increments for rural practice or maybe allow medical students who don’t clear National Licentiate Examination to practice medicine with some limitations till the time the doctor patient ratio comes to acceptable standards.
- Minimum standards for establishing the Medical Colleges to be maintained.
- If regulating body for Medical Education and Medical Practice has to be separated, then the logic doesn’t fit in for a bureaucratic body to set standards for Medical Education. Some serious corrections to be made in the body comprising the same.
- As far as Regulation of Medical Practice, is concerned, it should contain members from fields like Senior Consumer Rights Activists and Senior Legal Experts along with Senior Doctors. These members though nominated by the government, should contain some provision were the IMA should be consulted before the final composition is made. The NMC Act should be a measure to improve patient care but not to become a purely punitive body.
The list may go endless. But if the present government doesn’t resort to damage control with some major changes in the standoff after consulting, there is going to be some more hardships as far as the patients are concerned in days to come.