Medical education system of India braces for changes with NMC Bill
The National Medical Commission Bill, 2019 and its impact on medical education by NMC.
Medical Council of India (MCI) is all set to face the axe after 63 years of existence with the emergence of National Medical Commission (NMC), as suggested in the latest bill by Rajya Sabha. This bill aims at making the medical education in India more structured, transparent and just. A lot changes are tagged along with this bill and some are even causing concerns to current doctors and medical students.
The primary purpose of NMC, 2019 bill is to set up National Medical Commission, which will take over all the medical body responsibilities of the country from framing new policies or altering old ones to ensure just functioning of medical institutions and medical professionals in India; to allocating resources for health-care infrastructure in the country as per the requirements of the medical sector.
The NMC aims at bringing significant changes in the way medical colleges are graded, amend the NEET MBBS entrance examination, regulate course fees in private colleges and set up exit exams.
Here are the major changes that await with the NMC bill 2019:-
- This bill significantly stresses at enhancing an interface between systems of medicine in India. Systems like, Central Council of Homoeopathy and Central Council of Indian Medicine. Hence a bridge examination to facilitate the current Ayush doctors with a proper licence to practice.
- Section 15 (1) of the bill talks about a common final-year MBBS exam, National Exit Test (NEXT). It will be compulsory for an individual to clear this examination before practising medicine in the country and for getting admission to post-graduate medical courses.It will also be applicable for enrolment in the state register or the national register.
- NMC will determine the course fees of 50% private medical college seats. MCI didn't have any such power to regulate fees.
- AIIMS and JIPMER separate entrance examinations will be dissolved and now there will be a single National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for MBBS admissions in medical colleges all over India. Counselling will be common too.
- There will also be a National Licentiate Examination for the students complementing their MBBS,to secure a licence to practice.
- Until now students doing their MBBS in countries like US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand were readily permitted to practise in India. But under the new law, students will foreign degrees will have to clear an exit exam too.
Even though the government says that the NMC bill will improve medical education system in the country in terms of quality and affordability by guaranteeing high quality medical professionals in all parts of the country but many believe that giving power to Common Health Providers with a bridge course to prescribe specified medicines independently will only promote quackery in India which is already dealing with a lot of phoney doctors and medicines in the country that exploit the patients.
It also to some way deems nullified as it is more or less just replacing MCI and enforcing changes under a new name. It is still not much of a benefit for Ayush doctors as they might be able to practice to some extent after clearing the bridge course but they wont able to do MD/MS, they will have to do masters in their field only, Ayurved or Homeopathy. Hence the bridge course seems a little too exhausting for aspirants. How much of these haphazard changes will actually benefit current and future doctors is still very much unclear. The benefit, if there will be, will be marginal or null.
The largest body of doctors and medical students in India with over three lakh members- Indian Medical Association (IMA), is strongly apposing the scrapping of NEET-PG and introduction of NEXT. IMA also doesn’t stand with the decision to regulate of fees for 50% seats in private colleges and deemed universities.