Amid protests by the medical fraternity across the country, the National Medical Commission Bill was passed by Rajya Sabha Thursday, with Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan calling it a ‘golden day’ in the history of medical education. However, a certain section of the fraternity is demanding amendments to the Bill, particularly to sections 32(1), (2) and (3), saying it will encourage quackery by providing licences to those not holding MBBS degrees to practice modern medicine as community health providers.
“The Bill was conceived by the previous UPA government, when the MCI was put in suspended animation. The attempt was to replace MCI, because there were allegations of corruption. The new government wanted to transform medical education and that is why they wanted to continue with the NMC Bill. But there are still many questions which will be left unanswered, since it is an experiment,” Dr M C Mishra, former director of AIIMS, told The Indian Express.
The Bill proposes a common final-year MBBS examination, National Exit Test (NEXT), for admission to post-graduate medical courses and for obtaining a licence to practise medicine. It would also act as a screening test for foreign medical graduates, official sources said.
Dr Anant Bhan, researcher, Bioethics, Global Health and Health Policy, said: “There was an urgent need for regulatory reform in the health sector, and bringing in the NMC has been a good approach… Not every medical student has the skills… This is where a good quality exit exam can help. But a hurried implementation will create a huge mess. The government should go through similar models adopted in other countries and modify it accordingly.”