BENGALURU: The Indian Medical Association (IMA) constituting 2.7 lakh doctors will hold a nationwide protest, including in Bengaluru against the proposed National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill, which will scrap the existing Medical Council of India (MCI) Act on Wednesday.
The NMC will also replace the MCI, a 130-member elected body, with a 20-member nominated body. “Currently, every doctor in India has the right to vote while electing the medical council. Any registered medical practitioner in the country can contest for elections.
The new bill proposes to induct non-medical persons in NMC. Doing this in the highest regulator of medical profession takes away perspective, character and sanctity of the profession,” said Dr K K Aggarwal, president of IMA. However, IMA’s protests are laughable as MCI has zero credibility, in the context of corruption charges against MCI’s former president Dr Ketan Desai, said Dr Kunal Saha, president of People for Better Treatment, a not-for-profit public watchdog that helps victims of medical negligence fight for justice.
“There is a SC hearing on this case on November 21. We had filed a PIL. Elected or not, the MCI is a highly corrupt body doing great disservice to the nation,” Dr Saha told Express over the phone from Ohio, US.K Sujatha Rao, former health secretary of India, said, “MCI is the highest regulator of the medical profession. How can you have doctors on it when you are supposed to keep a watch on doctors themselves? There should be some distance. World over, no medical council is completely elected. That said, I do not agree with the Panagariya committee’s recommendations for it to be a nominated body. ”
Sujatha suggested that there should be multiple bodies with 30-40 experts on them. The IMA is also protesting the repealing of Section 16 of MCI Act, which says that the basic qualification to practise modern medicine is MBBS.
“Though the central government views that non-MBBS and non-BDS doctors cannot prescribe scheduled H,H1 and X-Drugs the NMC Act if introduced will nullify this clause as it has a provision allowing the registration of non-MBBS doctors to the medical profession,” said Aggarwal.
Sujatha said with acute shortage in the healthcare system some short-term, medium and long-term plans were required.“Paramedical doctors may not perform surgeries, but at least they will be able to treat minor ailments,” she said.About three hundren doctors from IMA will protest at Maurya Circle Gandhi statue from 11 am to 1 pm.
Introduce amendments to the existing MCI Act instead of repealing it to make it transparent, accountable, robust and self-sufficient
Introduce a central act to protect doctors and establishments from violence. The state already has The Karnataka Prohibition of Violence Against Medicare Service Personnel and Damage to Property in Medicare Service Institutions Act, 2009
Exempt individual doctor clinics from the purview of Clinical Establishment Act
Exempt doctors from Consumer Protection Act and till that happens, compensation should not
be decided on the income of the patient but the total fee charged
Non-MBBS and non-BDS doctors should not be allowed to prescribe scheduled H, H1 and X-Drugs (this covers all drugs in the market); state governments should enact appropriate amendments
Appoint inter-ministerial committee to meet the demands within six weeks