National Medical Council Bill : Secrets No One Tells You is not a blog post.It’s an awareness campaign.It is our request to the Honourable higher officials to take note.
It is also something my friends who also read my blog need to know.India is a Republic.It has a beautiful Federal structure.It has one of the most iconic constitutions in the world .Dr.B.R Ambedkar was a man much before his times.When people could hardly think beyond their daily bread, he thought of a Republic.
A country where the minority have an equal say.While many of the provisions were meant for religious minority what needs to be remembered that thought and professional minorities too, are promised protection under our powerful constitution.
But guess what?
You are still afraid of asking about the Emperors New Clothes.I am a simple woman in India brought up in a middle-class family, who had dreamt of becoming a doctor and helping people.But with the current scare over the National Medical Council Bill, I am afraid the beloved citizens of our country will suffer most.While this bill is not as much fun discussing as Padmavat is, its importance exceeds imagination.
The bill will affect healthcare.
It will affect Medical education.
Those you now know as quacks will be trained under it for crash courses in Modern medicine.How many of you would be comfortable visiting the ER and being treated by one such?Unfortunately, you will have no choice.Also, you may never know.
How many of the powerful men who govern us will be visiting such bridge course doctors, now known as quacks?
You know the answer.I do.
The main reason I started writing was, I felt I may be able to help many more (even remotely)through my words.
Whether I am able to or not, time will tell.But today on the eve of our Republic Day, its time I shared the parts of the Bill which are making us worried.While regulation is important, whats more important is the regulation needs to be thought out in more details.
The IMA is seeking a personal hearing by Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health & Family Welfare.But till that happens this is what you should know
The proposed National Medical Council Bill is self-defeating in nature and counterproductive in character.
It hurts the State, harms the profession and makes the regulatory body subservient to Central Government reducing it to a puppetry. The damaging provisions in the Bills are as follows:-
1) Introduction of licentiate examination which as an additional filter will reduce down the number of professionals available to the healthcare to its minimum. It is not conducive in the fair and legitimate interests of those who belong to backward communities.
2) Provision for bridge course would result in backdoor entry to non-medical professionals and would damage the system of Ayurveda/ Homeopathy respectively. This will also be discriminatory in character and will make people with compromised competency to play havoc with the population at large.
3) Marginalization of State representation and infringing the federalism. The Bill has taken away representation of the each State to its minimum and also put it in the form of Ex-officio representative of the State through either the Vice-Chancellor of the Health Science Universities or through Vice-Chancellors of traditional Universities with maximum medical colleges affiliated to it.
4) Infringement on the democratic representative character and national character. The composition of National Medical Commission, National Medical Advisory Council and the four autonomous Board are totally nominated/appointed in character and the elected members to bare minimum of five in the name of Zonal representation. The State representatives are only for a term of two years and the same would be unavailable for a period for 10 years meaning the State would not be represented in the National Medical Commission for a period of 10 years.
5) Marginalization of State Medical Council: The State Medical Council would be losing its autonomy and totality as the National Medical Commission, Medical Advisory Council , Autonomous Board and Central Government are entitled to give direction and it shall be binding for them, hence they will be reduced to subsidiary systems
6) Discretionary powers: Discretionary powers vested with the National Medical Commission, autonomous Boards including the Central government are such that the fixation of fees for various private colleges are left with the discretion of the Central Government upto 40% of total seats. MER Board is entitled to relax the norms and requirements of starting medical colleges.
7) Discretion with regards of imposing a penalty: The discretionary powers of the Central Government to permit even those who have failed in the Licentiate Examination to practice medicine.
8) Discretion of the Central government to do away with the conflict of interest: A classic example of doing away with the autonomy of the regulatory authority. The usage of all these discretionary power would be breeding corruption in a brazen manner. The proposed system is devoid of checks and balances.
9) All powers are vested with the Central Government: The Central Government is vested with the authority to give directions on matters and policies. It will be vested with the authority to supersede or dissolve the Commission. Thus, already appointed authorities, combined with nomination and appointments shall reduce it to be a department of the Central Government.
In a nutshell, the proposed Bill is anti-poor, pro-rich, undemocratic, anti-federal, corruption-breeding and Centralising all the powers with the Central Government and hence will compromise patient safety and public welfare. Thus this draconian Bill needs to be rejected lock, stock and barrel.
Are you hearing friends?
(Disclaimer: This is part of the IMA letter we are sending to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health & Family Welfare )
My thoughts about making health easier :
Make all tobacco, alcohol and addictive substances so expensive that only those who can afford the healthcare will be addicted.Banning is apparently too strict.Did you know these substances are responsible for a majority of the oral cancers in India?Did you know alcohol and tobacco together are synergistic in their cancer-causing potential?
Make medical education free or nominal cost for all students from the lower socio-economic background and payable for those who can afford it.I am sure no one will object.
Make rural service a part of the curriculum so that they are prepared to face rural health care challenges early.
The distrust between the people whom we serve and doctors is a social disease.This needs a cure and a prevention.Maybe making one person a doctor from each family in India will help restore the faith, trust and also increase the population of doctors in this country.
Health is a pillar of society.We have the fortunate task of helping restore health.But we have to cross many mountains before we reach home.
Do you have any ideas to improve healthcare in India?Comment below to let me know.