NMC a death knell of the health sector; IMA

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Stating that the National Medical Council bill 2019 would be a death knell of the medical profession, the medical fraternity has called for revoking the controversial provisions in the bill and even threatened of a nation-wide agitation.

The Indian Medical Association (IMA) on Tuesday decided to oppose the bill in its present form, stating that the bill of 2019 has only undergone only certain cosmetic changes from its earlier version. The Action Committee of IMA had met in New Delhi on Tuesday.

Noting that many of the clauses were detrimental to the health sector, IMA National President Dr Santanu Sen and IMA Action Committee chairman Dr A Marthanada Pillai said that the new bill only legalised quackery by allowing community health providers to practise medicine. “This is a big threat to the health sector and will endanger the lives of the people,” they said.

With regard to the National Exit Examination (NEXT), the IMA noted that about 50 per cent of the medical graduates will be deprived of practising modern medicine because of the coupling of NEET and NEXT. “While the government was going to allow quacks practise modern medicine under the pretext of shortage of doctors, the students who graduate are refused license to practise,” the IMA said.

The provision of allowing private medical colleges to fix the fees of 50 per cent of its seats was only a dilution of the existing norms, which means a wide gap is going to be built between the poor and the rich. Opposing the provision of liberal opening of medical college and also increasing of seats, the Association said that it would have a negative impact on the quality of education. They also oppose the appointed of a bureaucrat as secretary of the council. Apart from this, the IMA has also raised its reservation on the representation of the states in the council. The present structure was only anti federal, the association said.

Apart from the IMA, Resident Doctor’s Associations (RDA) in several hospitals, including that of AIIMS, has come out against the NMC.  Stating that the bill was not going to serve the purpose, they said that the provision giving power to the Centre to give directions to the Commission as this could only open doors for corruption. They said that the provision would allow the centre to dictate its policies on the NMC and also the autonomous boards, which in clear terms show that it is not an autonomous body.

The resident doctors also want to scrap the provision of allowing the private institutions the right to fix the fees. Once this happens, they said that merit would give way to money and the meritorious students would be left out. They demanded to retain the existing system of fixing fees.

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