Express News Service
NEW DELHI: Thousands of doctors across the country have expressed shock and disappointment over the removal of a clause for a single post graduate degree from the National Medical Commission Bill that was tabled in the Lok Sabha today.
The NMC bill, being introduced to overhaul the medical education in the country and replace the medical education regulator Medical Council of India, had earlier mentioned the merger of the Post-Graduation Board and the National Board of examination in the draft version.
But the clause has been dropped from the current version that was tabled in the parliament. While PG Board, under the MCI, awards MD/ MS (Doctor in medicine, Doctor in Science) degree to MBBS doctors, the NBE, under the Union Health and Family Welfare ministry, awards DNB (Diplomate of National Board), another post-graduation qualification but often considered inferior to MD/MS.
“India’s is the only country in the world that offers two types of PG qualifications to doctors and DNB doctors are always treated as inferior because they train at big speciality hospitals as opposed to MD/MS doctors who are attached with a medical college,” a senior member of the Association of DNB doctors told this newspaper.
“While the health ministry, through a 2012 notification, had made it clear that both MS/MD and DNB doctors will be treated at par for all practical purposes, the discrimination will not end till there are two boards,” he said. “While the bill still talks about degree equivalence, it’s extremely disheartening that the merger clause has now been dropped.”
The association has about 30,000 members and it is now planning two write to the Prime Minister’s office and the health ministry to re-include the merger clause.
The association has also protested a recent MCI move to make it mandatory for DNB doctors to do three year senior residency in hospitals before they can start teaching at medical colleges. Doctors with MD/ MS degrees have no such compulsion.
The country produces 63,835 MBBS doctors but there are only 20,000 PG seats on offer. For about 15,000 doctors DNB is the route for getting specialisation, sources said.
The NMC bill, introduced in the Lok Sabha today, meanwhile aims to replace the MCI with a 25-Commission, with only five elected members. It is being formed to do away with “heavy handed regulatory control” over medical institutions and will also bring in a national licentiate examination at the end of MBBS course for doctors.
One of the mandates of the Commission is to ease the processes for colleges to manage undergraduate and postgraduate courses. Earlier, the MCI approval was needed for establishing, renewing, recognising and increasing seats in a UG course.
Under the new proposal, permissions would only be sought for establishment and recognition of medical colleges.