Pune: The Indian Medical Association (IMA), which is opposing the proposed National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill that seeks to replace the Medical Council of India (MCI), will be holding a doctors’ ‘Mahapanchayat’ at Indira Gandhi Stadium, New Delhi on March 25.
The gathering will be a part of the agitation that the doctors have organised against the proposed bill that allows the doctors from Ayush (ayurveda, yoga and naturopathy, unani, siddha and homoeopathy) to prescribe allopathic medicine after a bridge course of six months and imposes exit/licentiate exam on MBBS doctors who have already cleared three MBBS exams.
Dr Parthiv Sanghvi, Secretary of IMA, Maharashtra, has alleged that the government is passing this bill to gain a total control of medical profession.
Opposition to the ‘bridge course’
“The only motive here, we think, is to gain control over our profession and take away our autonomy. The bill says that the doctors from systems of medicine like ayurveda, homoeopathy etc., can do a bridge course spanning over six months, where they will be trained in pharmacology, that is just a part of the syllabus of MBBS and then these other doctors will be allowed to prescribe allopathic medicine,” said Sanghvi.
He also pointed out that the Ayush doctors will not only be registered under MCI but also their respective boards. He further added, “This is totally unfair and dangerous. While they are making the allopathy students, who have already answered three MBBS exams to take another ‘exit’ exam to get a licence, the others will get a backdoor entry to allopathy just with a bridge course and no ‘exit’ exam,” Sanghvi said.
He further said, “We are not against the other systems of medicine. We are against the mixing of professions. If the government feels there is a lacuna in homoeopathic or ayurvedic medicine, they should help the stakeholders do research and improve.”
Sanghvi added, “The students of MBBS already have to answer three exams to pass as a doctor. To top that, now the government wants them to answer another exam of the level of UPSC, to get their licences. This will just lead to many youths, who have graduated, but are unable to practice just because they don’t have a licence. Is this a good situation while we already have scarcity of doctors in our country?”
He also pointed out that this looks like a partial treatment as no other profession has this kind of ‘exit’ exam. “The government can instead make the third MBBS exam uniform for all students in the State. The exit exam will severely affect the students from rural areas and from the backward classes of the society,” Sanghvi stated.
Decreasing states’ representation
The bill also threatens to decrease the number of elected representatives from the State in the MCI. “Right now, we have representation from all states. We have 75 per cent elected members and the rest 25 per cent are nominated members. However, after this bill, the government will have 90 per cent nominated candidates and hardly 10 per cent elected representation. Also, at a time, representatives from only five states will be a part of the commission for a tenure of mere two years. Also, while right now, everybody in MCI are doctors from modern system of medicine, this won’t be the same in NMC,” Sanghvi said.
He also said that the medical university of the state will henceforth give MBBS degree if the bill is implemented.
IMA starts Medical Students’ Network
IMA has started a new alliance called IMA Medical Students’ Network under which students will get a platform to voice their opinion. IMA announced their new addition of students association at BJ Medical College during a symposium on ‘challenges before medical profession’.
Medical students of BJ Medical College, Paris Lalge has been appointed as the Chairman, Komal Tapasvee as State Council member and Sharad Pailwan as Secretary of IMA Medical Students’ Network.