Medical education in India is going to get a drastic change in terms of its education methodology and governing policies. A pluralistic approach towards medical education demands a shift from a curative towards a more holistic method of teaching. There is a demand for a more pluralistic approach when it comes to medical guidance. People seek help from different fields of medicine for their different needs. Therefore it becomes important to bring certain changes in medical education in India. These changes should be brought more holistically.As a result, it should lead to a more efficient and patient-friendly environment.

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The reform in the medical education system should have the vision of providing the best and economical healthcare to all. There should be a continuous scrutiny of the quality of healthcare delivery, especially in rural areas. Besides, the primary and secondary healthcare system should be developed in the country. The pluralistic approach towards medical education is necessary because it will lead to a holistic development of the medical students. The medical education should produce the best and quality doctors who can be at the service of mankind.

India needs good quality doctors

Academic education is not just enough to produce good quality doctors in the country. In addition to academics, doctors should also be inculcated with other value systems important for their holistic development. The students from rural areas should have equal access to medical education. To achieve this goal, it is very important to lower the fees of medical education in India. The government is trying to bring changes in the current system of medical education to provide a better quality of healthcare to people.

The Union government has introduced the National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill in the Lok Sabha on July 22, 2019. This bill proposes to replace nearly 63-year-old Indian Medical Council Act by making certain changes in the Act. As a result of this bill, the NMC will be the governing body to regulate medical education in India.

Highlights of the NMC Bill, 2019

  • The NMC will have responsibilities like approving and assessing medical colleges, conducting common MBBS entrance exams and regulating course fees.

  • The bill proposes a common final-year MBBS exam, called the National Exit Test (NEXT). One has to clear NEXT for practicing medicine or getting admission to post-graduate medical courses.

  • The NMC will be an overarching body, which will look after the curriculum of UG and PG education. In addition to this, it will also be responsible for Medical Assessment and Rating and Ethics.

  • The NMC will be framing the guidelines for regulating the fees up to 50% of the seats in private medical colleges across the country.

  • Institutes of National Importance (such as AIIMS and JIPMER) have their Act of Parliament and do not fall under the NMC.

Controversy faced by the NMC Bill 2019

A lot of medical students, doctors, and members of the Indian Medical Association(IMA) have condemned the National Medical Commission Bill. Doctors have called it a “dangerous” step because it is ultimately initiating towards corporatization of medical education in the country. Also, there is a provision in the NMC Bill to allow people who practice alternative medicine, like yoga or Ayurveda, to practice allopathy after doing a ‘bridge course’. The IMA supporters are against this provision because according to this provision, the law legalizes quackery. Persons without a medical background are becoming eligible to practice modern medicine and prescribe independently. This is the major reason for the protest by the supporters of IMC and medical fraternity across the country.

How will the NMC Bill affect Medical Education in India?

The pluralization of medical education is very important to produce high-quality medical professionals in the country. The pluralistic approach in medical education will lead to bridging across the system of healthcare in the country. The NMC Bill is one such step towards providing the pluralism in medical education. For instance, the graduates from other medical disciplines such as nursing, dental, etc., will also be allowed lateral entry into the MBBS course. Earlier, there was no provision to regulate fees in Indian Medical Education Act, 1956. However, the NMC Act has the provision for regulation of fees of private/deemed medical colleges in India. It will ensure probity, quality education and bring down costs of medical education in India. It simplifies procedures and provides wider access to people for quality healthcare.

Above all, there will be a lot of changes in medical education in India if the NMC Bill gets the approval of the government. Besides, there are many other provisions, which were not taken into account by the MCI. The controversy regarding the NMC Bill can be resolved if the entire medical fraternity is taken into consideration. Their demands and complaints must be met and the government should clear their misunderstandings and misconceptions about the Bill. The path from MCI to NMC has to be covered efficiently so that everyone’s demand is fulfilled.

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