Health Care

Rajya Sabha passes National Medical Commission Bill

Rajya Sabha passes National Medical Commission Bill”

Bill, 2019 was passed by the Lok Sabha Monday and introduced in the Rajya Sabha Thursday.

The protesting doctors have alleged that the NMC Bill will only give a boost to quacks.

Even though the bill awaits President's assent, medical students have expressed their resentment over the bill due to several reasons and are staging protest against various provisions of the bill.

The doctors are still concerned that once the community health workers are given a license, the government will not be able to ensure where they practice.

"We have supported the NMC bill but some of the clauses are completely unacceptable", a student of SCB Medical College, Suchismita Sarangi, said.

"I have tried to explain that how NMC will work".

Section 32 of the Bill empowers the commission to "grant limited licence to practise medicine at mid-level as Community Health Provider". "The concept of mid-level practitioners is recognized worldwide and this concept has also been highlighted by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Lancet Journal", Harsh Vardhan said citing examples of developed and developing countries like the U.S., the UK, Australia, China and Africa who follow a similar arrangement. It also looks to regulate admission to medical colleges. Doctors should not defy their duties towards patients. His party colleague Manoj Kumar Jha said that concerns of protesting doctors should be looked into. Their ability and capability will always be doubtful and not to talk of irreparable damage to healthcare management, it said. "You may mock the bill but when it is passed today, the day will be written in golden words", he said while replying to the debate. The core concerns remain unaddressed. The doctors also question the vague term "persons connected with the modern scientific medical profession".

In his maiden speech in Rajya Sabha, TMC's Santanu Sen said the medical fraternity was against the "draconian" Bill. Hunger strikes and Raj Bhavan marches have been organized in most states.

"The provisions of the bill are nothing short of draconian and promote gross incompetence and mockery of the professionals now working day and night and sacrificing their youth for this broken system", a joint meeting of FORDA and resident doctors from AIIMS said yesterday. IMA has called for on emergency All India Action Committee meeting on Sunday, 4 August, 2019 in IMA headquarters, New Delhi. "The Action Committee will take appropriate decisions for the future course of action", he said.

Earlier on Thursday, healthcare services at government hospitals, including AIIMS, Safdarjung Hospital and the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital were severely hit as resident doctors withdrew all services including emergency services in protest against the National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill.

The ex officio members will include the presidents of the undergraduate and postgraduate medical education boards, the director general of Indian Council of Medical Research, and a director of one of the AIIMS, among others. The bill also has a provision for making national standards in medical education uniform by proposing that the final year MBBS exam be treated as an entrance test for PG and a screening test for students who graduate in medicine from foreign countries.

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