We are on the right path but the struggle must continue


Dr KK Aggarwal    29 March 2018

From the Desk of Dr KK Aggarwal

Even Rama, Krishna, Jesus had to fight for their principles. We the doctors should also continue to fight for our and our patient’s rights.

Yesterday the Cabinet Cleared NMC Amendments and the same now needs to be debated by member of parliaments in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. Will they or the bill will be passed by vote of voice only the time will tell. IMA and medical professional members of parliament should continue their efforts to get more before the bill is passed.

Final MBBS Examination to be held as a common exam across the country as an exit test called the National Exit Test (NEXT): It’s a victory of all. The same was proposed by IMA last year. The students would not have to appear in a separate exam after MBBS to get license to practice. NEXT would also serve as the screening test for doctors with foreign medical qualifications to practice in India. It will make more doctors available to practice. Who will conduct the exam is next debate?

Provision of Bridge course for AYUSH practitioners to practice limited modern medicine has been removed. But it has been left to the State Governments to take necessary measures for addressing and promoting primary health care in rural areas. This is a win of both Modern medicine and AYUSH. Ayush will now be able to continue research in their own discipline. AYUSH would have suffered a jolt in its very existence if they were to enter modern medicine.

Fee (including all charges) regulation for 50% seats in private medical institutions and deemed universities. More details are needed, or the private institutions will increase the fee for 50% of seats in crores. One of the solutions is to increase number of government and district medical colleges.

Number of nominees from States and UTs in NMC increased marginally from 3 to 6. The NMC will comprise of 25 members of which at least 21 will be doctors. Not been able to increase the seats of registered medical practitioners seats is a major failure on our part.

Only 5 representatives from the registered doctors in states which was suggested to be 9 by the parliamentary committee are too low a number. Probably the government does not want IMA or professional representatives to be a part of it. It will be our collective failure if we are not being able to challenge it. Only one representative from each zone or all five from all India elections will make it interesting?

Monetary penalty for a medical college non-compliant with the norms replaced with provision for different penalty options (warning, reasonable monetary penalty, reducing intake, stoppage of admission leading up to withdrawal of recognition etc). We need to study the same in detail.

Stringent punishment for unqualified medical practitioners or quacks: The punishment for any unauthorized practice of medicine has been made severe by including a provision for imprisonment of up to one year along with a fine extending up to Rs. 5 lakhs. Its good that it is ‘AND’ and not ‘OR’.

Once convicted the imprisonment is a surety. We need to study the loop holes further.

But our war was not only for NMC alone. It was also for suitable amendments in clinical establishment act ( deletion of police representative from DRA and replacing same from association representative, exempting single doctor establishment; doing away with NABH inspection, suggestion with respect to standard treatment guidelines to be provided by IMA and to define the change in the word ‘to stabilise’); PNDT act (graded punishments and non penal provisions for clerical errors), central act against violence and capping of compensation ( on lines with Drug and cosmetic rules in a clinical trial and not based on patients annual income).

Our fight should not end but continue till we get our rights.

We also need to continue our demands for increasing the health budgetary allocation to 5% of GDP; introduction of IMS on lines with IAS; implementation of MCI code of ethics 8.6 to decide professional negligence and misconduct and Jacob Mathew MCI IMA recommendations on police actions in any alleged criminal negligence; omission for penal provisions on doctors during practice, uniform pay scale for service doctors across the country and better service conditions for doctors and patients in government hospitals.

Any government listens to pressure. IMA Dilli Chalo or IMA Mahapanchayat, whatever name we give in future should become an annual affair with the association and should become the extra ordinary general body meeting of IMA and FOMA.

All resolutions must be adopted and fought till they are achieved.

Congrats Ravi for leading from the front.

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