In this post, I will discuss important facts about the National Medical Commission Bill, 2019 passed by the Parliament recently. I will brief you about the bill details summarizing in 10 Must-Know Facts about The National Medical Commission Bill 2019.

What is the objective of the National Medical Commission Bill, 2019

Ans- The Bill seeks to repeal the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 and provide for a medical education system which ensures:

  1. availability of adequate and high-quality medical professionals,
  2. adoption of the latest medical research by medical professionals,
  3. periodic assessment of medical institutions, and
  4. an effective grievance redressal mechanism.
  5. a uniform National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test for admission to under-graduate and post-graduate super-specialty medical education in all medical institutions.

How the National Medical Commission will be constituted

Ans- The Bill repeals the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 and dissolves the current Medical Council of India, and sets up the National Medical Commission (NMC). Within three years of the passage of the Bill, state governments will establish State Medical Councils at the state level. The NMC will consist of 25 members, appointed by the central government.

There will be a Search Committee which will recommend names to the central government for the post of Chairperson and the part-time members. The Search Committee will consist of seven members including the Cabinet Secretary and five experts nominated by the central government (of which three will have experience in the medical field).

What will be the formation of the National Medical Commission

Ans- The National Medical Commission (NMC) will include

  1. the Chairperson (must be a medical practitioner),
  2. Presidents of the Under-Graduate and Post-Graduate Medical Education Boards,
  3. the Director-General of Health Services, Directorate General of Health Services,
  4. The Director-General, Indian Council of Medical Research, and
  5. Five members (part-time) to be elected by the registered medical practitioners from amongst themselves from states and union territories for a period of two years.

What will be the functions of the NMC

Ans- Functions of the NMC include:

  1. Framing policies for regulating medical institutions and medical professionals,
  2. Assessing the requirements of healthcare-related human resources and infrastructure,
  3. Ensuring compliance by the State Medical Councils of the regulations made under the Bill,
  4. Framing guidelines for determination of fees for up to 50% of the seats in private medical institutions and deemed universities which are regulated under the Bill.

What Medical Advisory Council will do under the NMC

Ans- Under the Bill, the central government will constitute a Medical Advisory Council. The Council will be the primary platform through which the states/union territories can put forth their views and concerns before the NMC.

Further, the Council will advise the NMC on measures to determine and maintain minimum standards of medical education.

What are the autonomous boards under the NMC

Ans- The Bill sets up autonomous boards under the supervision of the NMC, Each autonomous board will consist of a President and four members, appointed by the central government. These boards are:

  1. The Under-Graduate Medical Education Board (UGMEB) and the Post-Graduate Medical Education Board (PGMEB): These Boards will be responsible for formulating standards, curriculum, guidelines, and granting recognition to medical qualifications at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels respectively.
  2. The Medical Assessment and Rating Board (MARB): MARB will have the power to levy monetary penalties on medical institutions which fail to maintain the minimum standards as laid down by the UGMEB and PGMEB. The MARB will also grant permission for establishing a new medical college, starting any postgraduate course, or increasing the number of seats.
  3. The Ethics and Medical Registration Board: This Board will maintain a National Register of all licensed medical practitioners, and regulate professional conduct. Only those included in the Register will be allowed to practice medicine. The Board will also maintain a separate National Register for community health providers.

How is Bill changing the eligibility guidelines for doctors to practice medicine?

Ans- There will be a uniform National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) for admission to under-graduate and post-graduate super-specialty medical education in all medical institutions regulated under the Bill. The NMC will specify the manner of conducting common counseling for admission in all such medical institutions.

Further, the Bill introduces a common final year undergraduate examination called the National Exit Test for students graduating from medical institutions to obtain the license for the practice. This test will also serve as the basis for admission into post-graduate courses at medical institutions under this Bill. Foreign medical practitioners may be permitted temporary registration to practice in India.

However, the Bill does not specify the validity period of this license to practice. In other countries such as the United Kingdom and Australia, a license to practice needs to be periodically renewed. For example, in the UK the license has to be renewed every five years, and in Australia, it has to be renewed annually.

Issues of Medical miscount will be addressed

Ans- The State Medical Council will receive complaints relating to professional or ethical misconduct against a registered medical practitioner. If the medical practitioner is aggrieved of a decision of the State Medical Council, he may appeal to the Ethics and Medical Registration Board. If the medical practitioner is aggrieved of the decision of the Board, he can approach the NMC to appeal against the decision.

The NMC Bill, 2019 will regulate the community health providers

Ans- Under the Bill, the NMC may grant a limited license to certain mid-level practitioners connected with the modern medical profession to practice medicine. These mid-level practitioners may prescribe specified medicines in primary and preventive healthcare. In any other cases, these practitioners may only prescribe medicines under the supervision of a registered medical practitioner.

The NMC Bill, 2019 will regulate the fee of MBBS seats

Ans- IMC Act, 1956 has no provision for the regulation of fees. As a result, some states regulate the fees of some seats in private colleges through MoUs signed with college managements.

Under the Bill, 50% of the total MBBS seats in the country are in government colleges, which have nominal fees. Of the remaining seats, 50% would be regulated by NMC. This means that almost 75% of the total seats in the country would be available at reasonable fees. In the spirit of federalism, the State governments would still have the liberty to decide fees for remaining seats in private medical colleges on the basis of individual MOUs signed with colleges on the basis of mutual agreement.


Source & Courtesy: PRS India

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