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National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill, explained

By Deepika

New Delhi, July 28: Health care services at several private hospitals across the country are likely to be hit as the IMA has called for suspension of all non-emergency services, including OPD for 12 hours, to protest against the National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill today.

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The NMC bill seeks to replace the apex medical education regulator, the Medical Council of India (MCI), with a new body National Medical Commission (NMC). It is against this bill that doctors have decided to go on strike, leaving the fate of patients requiring urgent treatment hanging in the balance.

Here is what National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill is:

The bill seeks to replace the Medical Council of India with National Medical Commission as top regulator of medical education in India.

The bill also seeks to put in place a common entrance exam and licentiate exam, which all medical graduates will have to clear to get practising licences.

It would also put in place a four-tier structure for the regulation of medical education. The 20 members National Medical Commission will be at the top of this structure.

NMC will be a 20 member body comprising a Chairperson, a member secretary, eight ex-officio members and 10 part-time members.

Out of the 8 ex-officio members, four shall be presidents of the boards constituted under the act and remaining four shall be nominees from three ministries viz. Health, Pharmaceuticals, HRD and one from Director General of Health Services.

The bill also has a provision for a common entrance exam and licentiate (exit) exam that medical graduates have to pass before practising or pursuing PG courses. For MBBS, students have to clear NEET, and before they step into practice, they must pass the exit exam.

The NMC can permit a medical professional to perform surgery or practise medicine without qualifying the National Licentiate Examination, in circumstances that may be specified in regulations.

According to the NMC Bill, the Ethics and Medical Registration Board can maintain a separate national register that would have the names of licensed AYUSH practitioners. The names of graduates of Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery and Bachelor of Homeopathic Medicine and Surgery are already registered with their respective councils and on taking the bridge course they would be incorporated in a separate register maintained by the NMC, resulting in dual registration with two councils, which is neither open nor permissible.

The government, under the National Medical Commission (NMC), can dictate guidelines for fees up to 40% of seats in private medical colleges. This is aimed at giving students relief from the exorbitant fees charged by these colleges and is a standout feature of the bill.

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