A bill that will allow homeopaths, ayurveds and yogis to practice modern medicine after completing a ‘bridge course’ has now been sent to a parliamentary standing committee after doctors went on protest strike across the country.
The National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill, 2017, was introduced in the parliament on Friday. If introduced, the National Medical Commission will replace the Medical Council of India as the chief medical education regulator.
The bill has several problematic issues that raised the hackles of the Indian Medical Association that had called for the day-long strike, calling it a ‘Black Day.’
The biggest among them is an attempt at what’s being referred to as ‘crosspathy,’ or merging two disciplines of medicine.
Section 49 of the bill in a nutshell allows for setting up of a ‘bridge course’ that homeopaths, Ayurveda doctors, yogis and others who fall under the Indian system of medicine can take. Post this course they can prescribe modern medicine.
“The joint sitting, may, by an affirmative vote of all members present and voting, decide on approving specific bridge course that may be introduced for the practitioners of Homeopathy and of Indian Systems of Medicine to enable them to prescribe such modern medicine at such level as may be prescribed.”
Doctors and experts say this will promote quackery. It takes years of study and discipline to become a doctor of modern medicine. A six month crash course just cannot be enough.
A Medical Body Not Run By Doctors
While the current MCI has faced several charges of corruption and mismanagement, experts say the solution offered will be no different.
The doctors will not be allowed to elect their own representatives. The NMC, unlike the current Medical Council of India, will be run by people appointed by the Centre and the states, from the ministries of health, of human resource development, and the Department of Pharmaceuticals, experts from health, science, economics, etc.
The IMA says the move will “cripple” the functioning of the medical profession by making it completely answerable to the bureaucracy and non-medical administrators. It will also give greater control to the government to run the commission.
Another proposal requires doctors to pass an exit examination on graduating from their MBBS courses to get a licence to practice.
(With inputs from PTI)