National Medical Commission Bill Current Affairs - 2019
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The government think tank Niti Ayog has unveiled the Strategy for New India @ 75 which define clear objectives for 2022-23. The strategy document with 41 chapters has been disaggregated under four sections, which are: Drivers, Infrastructure, Inclusion and Governance. The document makes the recommendations related to the health sector under the Drivers section.
Strategy for New India @ 75: Health Sector Recommendations
The document makes important recommendations to improve the health sector scenario in the country. The major recommendations are:
- Enactment of the National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill, 2017 since the regulatory bodies, the Medical Council of India and the Nursing Council of India have failed to ensure adequate availability and quality of health
- Revamping of the regulatory system of nursing education to ensure quality training in nursing schools, developing centres of excellence in nursing and enhancing the stature of government nurses.
- Creating conditions to facilitate import of doctors, especially those of Indian origin working abroad, deploying teachers from universities abroad as visiting professors at AIIMS or NIEs and linking at least 40 per cent of district hospitals with medical colleges to address the shortage of doctors in the country.
- Developing framework for the deployment of doctors and specialists from the private sector to government hospitals on a visiting or honorary basis and expanding the system of Diplomate of National Board (DNB) and Diplomas from College of Physicians and Surgeons (CPS) to address the shortage of doctors.
- Establishment of a Council to ensure standardization of education and putting in place quality control mechanisms for educational institutions, teaching methods and workforce management of allied health professionals.
- The Niti Ayog also suggests putting in place an updated curriculum for medical and allied professions that keep pace with the changing dynamics of public health, policy and demographics.
- Creating a cadre of primary healthcare practitioners by introducing a three-year competency-based dynamic course for primary, community and family medicine and partner with private hospitals or private medical practitioners to skill technicians, nursing and para-nursing as well as para-medical staff to deal with the paucity of health professionals.
Acute Shortage of Doctors in India
As per the reports, about 10.23 lakh allopathic doctors registered with the MCI or state medical councils. Niti Ayog estimates that around 8.18 lakh doctors may actually be available for active service assuming 80% availability. This puts the doctor-population ratio of India at 1:1613 against the WHO norm of 1:1000. The other big concern is the disparity between states and those between urban and rural areas.
Union Cabinet has approved certain amendments to National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill considering recommendations of Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee (DRPSC) and general feedback from public.
The NMC Bill seeks to replace the Medical Council of India with National Medical Commission as top regulator of medical education in India. It aims to move towards outcome-based regulation of medical education rather than process oriented. It will ensure proper separation of functions within regulator by having autonomous boards, create accountable and transparent procedures for maintaining standards in Medical Education.
Amendments approved are
Final MBBS Examination and exit test: The final MBBS examination will be held as common exam throughout country. It will serve as exit test to be called National Exit Test (NEXT). It will ease burden on medical students as they will not have to appear in separate exam after MBBS to get license to practice. NEXT will also serve as screening test for doctors with foreign medical qualifications in order to practice in India.
Provision of Bridge course: It removes provision dealing with bridge course for AYUSH practitioners to practice modern medicine to limited extent. Now state governments have been empowered to take necessary measures for addressing and promoting primary health care in rural areas.
Fee regulation: The maximum limit of 40% seats for which fee will be regulated in private medical institutions and deemed universities has been increased to 50% seats. The fee will also include all other charges taken by colleges.
Number of nominees from States/UTs in NMC: The nominees of States and UTs in National Medical Commission (NMC) have been increased from 3 to 6. TNMC will comprise of 25 members of which at least 21 will be doctors.
Monetary penalty for medical colleges: It adds provision providing different options for warning, reasonable monetary penalty, reducing intake, stoppage of admission leading up to withdrawal of recognition on medical college non-compliant with norms. Earlier, wide range of monetary penalty, ranging from one half to ten times annual fee recovered from batch was to be imposed in a graded manner.
Stringent punishment for quacks: It provides severe punishment for any unauthorized practice of medicine or by quacks with imprisonment of up to 1 year along with fine extending up to Rs. 5 lakhs.