Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Govt seeks to scrap MCI, doctors up in arms



The tussle between doctors and the state over the control of medical councils continued after the Centre proposed scrapping the Medical Council of India and replacing it with the National Medical Commission, which will have only 10 per cent of its members from the medical fraternity.

Doctors are up in arms over this decision, saying this is yet another step by the government to tighten its grip over medical councils by having its 'stooges' control their functioning even as the Centre has called for suggestions and oppositions to be sent in by August 31.

"One of the major problems is that the new act calls for merely 10 to 15 per cent representation from the medical fraternity. The rest of the members will be non-doctors appointed by the government. How can laymen take calls on medical education?" asked Dr Shivkumar Utture, executive member of the Maharashtra Medical Council. Utture added that all of the members of the Medical Council of India were doctors and the same practice should continue. "Problems of corruption should have been dealt with separately. Instead of scrapping the Medical Council of India, they should have amended it and plugged the loopholes."

Uttare said that the government tried the same tack when it appointed an Ayurveda practitioner as the registrar of the Maharashtra Medical Council, a body made up of allopathic physicians.

Several doctors' bodies held a meeting on Sunday in Rajasthan to strongly oppose the National Medical Commission. The Indian Medical Association, a body of 2.5 lakh doctors across the country, has decided to oppose the National Medical Commission Bill, 2016, as the process of appointing the members is nondemocratic. "We have constituted a 10-member team to deliberate on each aspect of the bill and send a report to the government," said Dr KK Aggarwal, general secretary of Indian Medical Association.

The decision to replace the Medical Council of India, the statutory body responsible for recognising medical institutions, courses and qualifications in India and registering doctors who practiced in India, with the National Medical Commission, the new apex regulator for the medical sector, was made by an expert committee on medical education appointed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.