Taking a view quite opposite to that of the Indian Medical Association (IMA), acclaimed cardiac surgeon Devi Prasad Shetty today hailed the proposed NMC bill, but said the provision of Ayurvedic doctors being allowed to prescribe Allopathic medicines needs clarification.
The Founder and Chairman of the Bengaluru-based Narayana Health, and Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan awardee termed the proposed NMC (National Medical Commission) bill as a “good move” by the government.
Dr Shetty said the provision of Ayurvedic doctors prescribing Allopathic medicines needs to be clearly spelt out and defined as to in which locations, what type of medicines and under what circumstances they can do that.
“They (the bill) have to clarify what medicines, which location (these doctors can prescribe)”, he told PTI.
“I can understand if it’s meant to give them (Ayurvedic doctors) the privilege to prescribe medicines at primary centres in remote locations, only a few medicines, that’s the only clarification I want from government. Otherwise, it’s a very good bill,” Dr. Shetty said.
That is his only reservation on the proposed legislation. “It’s only about prescribing certain medicines in certain situations which needs to be defined. If that’s done, I have absolutely no problem,” he added.
Dr. Shetty did not share the view of IMA that the NMA will cripple the functioning of medical professionals by making them completely answerable to the bureaucracy and non-medical administrators.
“No. Out of the 25 members (in NMC), only three or four members are non-doctors; all the others are doctors. We don’t need to be worried about non-doctors taking over the thing. Most of them are doctors”, he said.
“I am a doctor and obviously I am very concerned about all the changes happening but the proposed bill addresses all our apprehensions. My only apprehension is about Ayurvedic doctors; Once that is clarified, I have no problem”, Dr. Shetty said.
Stating that he has gone through the draft bill in depth, Dr. Shetty also rejected concerns in some quarters that it is possible that in future, NMC will become subservient to the Health Ministry.
“The thing is if you have a very badly drafted bill, but good people are managing it, good things will happen. If you have a very well crafted bill but people occupying there are not very good people, you can expect what will happen. It’s not about the bill, it’s about people”, he said.
The National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill, which was tabled in Parliament last Friday, seeks to replace the Medical Council of India (MCI) and also proposes allowing practitioners of alternative medicines, such as homoeopathy and ayurveda, practise allopathy after completing a “bridge course.
In protest against the bill, the IMA today called for suspending routine healthcare services at private hospitals for 12 hours.