National Medical Commission Bill: Why doctors are so much against it

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Published: August 1, 2019 9:10 PM

The National Medical Commission Bill: Parliament Thursday passed the bill that authorises the proposed medical commission to allow non-doctors to recommend medicines for primary care.

NMC Bill, Medical Council of India, IMADoctors are protesting against the National Medical Commission Bill, 2019.

NMC Bill 2019: Doctors are vehemently protesting against a new law to regulate the medical profession and education in the country. Indian Medical Association vehemently criticised the National Medical Commission Bill 2019 which has been passed by the Rajya Sabha on Thursday. The Lok Sabha had already passed the bill last month. The bill will replace now defunct Medical Council of India as the apex body to regulate medical profession and education in the country. But the two specific provisions of the bill have not gone down well with the medical community in the country. Section 32 of the bill authorises the government to allow non-medical degree holders to practice medicine as community health providers. This provision has been vehemently opposed by Indian Medical Association that says it will legalise quacks in the country.

“The Community Health Provider who is granted limited licences under sub-section (1), may practice medicine to such extent, in such circumstances and for such period, as may be specified by the regulations,” says the National Medical Commission Bill passed by Parliament.

The provision authorises the proposed national medical commission (NMC) to grant limited licence to practice medicine at mid-level as community health provider to those persons who have knowledge of modern scientific medical methods.

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“The Community Health Provider may prescribe specified medicine independently, only in primary and preventive healthcare, but in cases other than primary and preventive healthcare, he may prescribe medicine only under the supervision of medical practitioners registered under sub-section (1) of section 32,” says the bill passed by the Rajya Sabha on Thursday.

“This will allow anyone with limited exposure to modern medical system to recommend medicines. In a way the government is legalising the quacks in the country,” said a senior government physician who has spent almost four decades in the profession.

“These quacks will only aggravate the situation. They may not know where liver is located in human body and its functions but they will be allowed to recommend medicines. And the burden of correcting their mistake will fall on us,” the senior government physician told Financial Express Online while requesting not to be named.

“If the government wanted to improve the health services in the rural areas then it should strengthen the existing paramedics. Nurses and midwives are trained for administering injections and similar functions and the government should try to tap this trained manpower,” he said.

“Primary care can be taken by these paramedics and only complex medical problems should be referred to a doctor with specialised knowledge. This kind of model has worked in other countries where doctors only treat complex problems,” said the senior government physician.

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