Aug 05, 2019-Monday
The National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill 2019, which was passed by Rajya Sabha last week, is being called visionary by its supporters, and catastrophic by its detractors. One of the key points of disagreement between the two groups is Section 32 that provides for licensing of 3,50,000 non-medical persons, or community health providers (CHPs), to practise modern medicine. This has been done to help bridge the shortfall of doctors and nurses in the country. Doctors warn that the section will fuel quackery, and lead to untrained providers offering treatment to patients. But trained and licenced CHPs can be the game changers by offering health care that accounts for 80%-90% of the needs of a population, and free doctors for secondary and advanced care.
Junior doctors and medical students are also protesting against the common National Exit Test (NEXT). The NEXT results will determine the selection of students for post-graduate medical courses, and also provide qualifying graduates with a licence to practice medicine in India. This, say medical students, puts too much at stake in a single exam. But a centralised exit exam will standardise the competencies and skills of doctors. Along with addressing the concerns of the medical fraternity, the State must ensure that medical colleges focus on producing skilled doctors, and not indulge in profiteering; and, also institute proper monitoring of CHPs so that they don’t start functioning like doctors.
First Published: Aug 05, 2019 07:56 IST