A Few words about National Medical Commission Bill, 2017

January 3, 2018

A Few words about National Medical Commission Bill, 2017 

Why are we against this Bill?

Dr. Rezaul Karim, President, West Bengal Doctors’ Forum

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What is in the bill?

  • Some of the important topics are being highlighted.
  • The Medical Council of India will cease to exist. State Medical Council will remain.
  • Only 5 members of the National Medical Commission (NMC) will be elected by the vote of doctors. The rest will be nominated members. Three of the members will be from non-medical profession. The Advisory Body of the NMC will include one member from each of the states, but they will not have any direct power.
  • The agency will make decisions on medical education and on ethical issues concerning doctors. Those who have passed out directly from the medical colleges, will need to undergo a new exam. If they pass, they will be eligible for service in this country. They will be in a register. State Council will make this list. Based on this list, NMC will also chart a list.
  • Those who did not study in the medical college but studied some other branch of Indian medical subject such as Homeopathy or Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha, they will be included in a separate list of their own after taking a short bridge course and they would also be able to practice modern medicine. The commission can also decide to permit anybody from giving medical service even without this test.
  • Only 40% of the fees for private medical colleges will be decided by the commission, the remaining 60% will be decided by the college.
  • Private doctors will also be able to be part of the standard assessment committee for medical colleges.

Who will be affected if this bill is passed?

  • The most harm will be to common people, especially the poor people. For them, a medical system is being gifted, that would have far-reaching consequences. To meet the shortage of doctors in rural and areas with poor infrastructure, physicians registered through the bridge course will be utilized. The government will wash their hands off by providing third-class services for the poor people. Unnecessary and harmful drug use will increase, and public health disasters will ensue.
  • In the medical education system, privatization will abound and instead of meritorious students, the rich will study there.
  • Selected organizations will be replaced by bureaucratic administration.
  • Full power will be galvanized in the center. This control is even a step above the federal structure.
  • Increased pressure will be mounted on medical science students by adding yet another test on their back.

What do we want?

  • This bill is a burning proof of fooling people. It would be dangerous for the people if Ayus and alternative doctors are registered through the back door as modern doctors. The use of unnecessary medicines will increase. The poor will be deceived.
  • Effective measures should be taken to prevent the corruption of the Medical Council, but by eliminating a democratic organization, an authoritarian administration will not do any good for the future.
  • Increasing investment in universal health and legalizing health rights will reduce the problem by itself.
  • The government need to take responsibility for higher education and research.

People are enraged about the government health system. To hide from this public anger, the government is trying to fool the people by pitting them against some invisible enemy. The demand of the people is increasing but the government expenditure is decreasing. The government should have spent 430 billion rupees but in reality much less is being spent. This is the main reason behind the suffering of the people.

Let us oppose the National Medical Commission bill, let us be vocal in the demand for healthcare services at public cost.