NEW DELHI: Dubbing the parliamentary standing committee report on the controversial National Medical Commission Bill as “worse than the bill itself”, the Indian Medical Association has threatened to go on a “warpath” if the contentious clauses are not removed from the proposed legislation.
IMA, the largest body of private doctors in the body has said that the government should remove the provision to allow AYUSH doctors perform modern medicine after pursuing a “Bridge Course”—failing which the medical practitioners across the country will hit the streets.
“The PSC has recommended that the proposed licentiate test for MBBS doctors should not be mandatory and the final year MBBS examination should double up as exit test—but what they have proposed for the Bridge Course is even worse,” said IMA president Ravi Wankhedkar.
The committee, in its report recently, has said that states should be left to decide whether to allow Bride Course but even nurses and pharmacists, in addition to AYUSH doctors, can practice modern medicine after the short-term course, in order to fill the shortage of doctors in rural areas.
The panel, which had been referred the bill, after protests from various quarters, has also suggested that number of elected representative be increased from five to nine.
“This is a ridiculous proposal and we will not accept these cosmetic changes as they do not address the major issues we have with the bill,” Wankhedkar said.
The association has hinted that a long—even indefinite strike—can be called if the bill, that seeks to replace the medical education regulator Medical Council of India—with a largely nominated, central body, is not significantly altered.
In the NMC bill, senior IMA functionaries pointed out, provisions to open new medical colleges are ambiguous and the provisions to begin PG courses are unregulated.
“Recommendation to increase the regulation of fee in private medical colleges from 40 to 50 per cent does not make a material difference. However lack of clarity on implementation may jeopardise the decision itself,” said a statement released by the association.
A new issue that has been created by the PSC is the recommendation to have the Ethics and Medical Registration Board (EMRB) headed by a retired judge which is unacceptable by IMA.
IMA has also decided that the further course of action at national level will be decided by a doctors’ Mahapanchayat on Sunday, March 25.