New Delhi, January 24
Key provisions of the National Medical Commission Bill 2017 came in for close scrutiny at the meeting of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health which met non-government stakeholders this afternoon.A key takeaway from today’s meeting was red-flagging of two major elements of the Bill — proposed exit exam for MBBS passouts and allowing Ayush practitioners to dispense allopathic medicines after a bridge course of six months.
The Tribune has learnt that the representatives of homeopathy and ayurveda councils today expressed deep concerns over NMC Bill’s provisions of cross practice.They said if Ayush (Ayurveda, Unani, Yoga, Siddha and Homeopathy) practitioners are allowed to practise allopathy after a bridge course, they will start vying for allopathy and Ayush systems will suffer. “There was a major concern from Ayurveda and Homeopathy Councils around decline in the popularity of traditional systems if practitioners are allowed to dispense allopathic medicines after a bridge course. These are genuine concerns. There is a view in the committee that while it is important to increase the numbers of healthcare cadres at primary level, allowing Ayush practitioners to dispense drugs is not the best idea.
A better idea is to let BSc Nursing graduates do the same bridge course and dispense medicines,” a committee member told The Tribune.Some MPs on the panel argued for creating a nurse practitioner course on the lines of US where nurses are the first point of contact at primary health centres.Health Ministry had proposed a bridge course for Ayush practitioners to dispense a limited set of allopathic drugs at sub centres saying they can use six lakh Ayush practitioners for service delivery. Majority parliamentary committee members, however, feel allowing cross discipline practice may not help.
On exit exam for MBBS passouts, IMA view today was to not have one at all. IMA represented by past president KK Agarwal and sitting president also argued today for a higher elected component in NMC. Under the present Bill, only five in 25 NMC members can be elected and the rest will be selected.The Bill however provides for 22 members in 25 to be from medicine background.On exit exam, committee members are veering towards a suggestion of converting the MBBS final exam into a national uniform subjective exam to test the clinical skills of medical graduates. It has also been learnt that the committee report will be delayed with panel chief Ram Gopal Yadav of SP asking for additional stakeholder comments in writing in 10 days. The government had wanted it before the Budget Session started on January 29.
Author: Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service