NEW DELHI: In a bid to pacify agitating doctors against passage of the National Medical Commission Bill in Parliament, the Union Health Ministry has come up with a detailed clarification on the points in the bill that are being contested.
The Centre has conceded that the staggering 58 per cent personnel currently practising allopathy do not have medical qualification to do so — forcing it to introduce a mid-level cadre of trained health workers to deliver primary and preventive healthcare. Approving a cadre of community health providers has been protested by a large number of doctors.
In a FAQ put out on Tuesday, the government said that Ayushman Bharat launched by the Centre needs 1,50, 000 mid-level providers within the next 3-5 years to provide comprehensive primary and preventive care. “It will take 7-8 years to ramp up the supply of doctors; therefore, in the interim we have no option but to rely upon a cadre of specially trained mid-level providers who can lead the health and wellness centres.
The government stressed that India has a doctor-population ratio of 1:1456 as against the WHO standards of 1:1000.
In addition, there is a huge skew in the distribution of doctors working in the urban and rural areas with the urban to rural doctor density ratio being 3.8:1, it added. “Consequently, most of our rural and poor population is denied good quality care leaving them in the clutches of quacks,” read the statement. “It is worth noting that at present 57.3 per cent of personnel currently practising allopathic medicine does not have a medical qualification.”
Associations like the Indian Medical Association and Federation of Resident Doctors’ Associations are up in arms against several clauses of the NMC Bill. The ministry meanwhile also emphasised that regulations to operationalise the national level exit examination for final year MBBS students will be made within 3 years keeping in mind importance of both theoretical as well as clinical skill sets required at the level of UG.
It was explained that fee for nearly 75 per cent seats in medical colleges will be directly regulated by the NMC while the states will continue to have a say in the rest 25 per cent seats in private medical colleges.