Unless you’ve been living under a rock or some other such isolated region you must know by now that the Indian Medical Association have called a nation-wide strike on June 25 i.e. today. So why are they protesting? The main reason is the decision to dissolve the Medical Council of India (MCI) and other paramedical bodies like the Nursing Council of India and the Dental Council of India and the formation of National Council for Human Resources in Health (NCHRH). The doctors fear the NCHRH will be governed by bureaucrats instead of doctors and this will lead to vested interests. It is also likely that it will increase red tapism and lead to harassment of doctors and their ilk. They are also opposing the implementation of the Clinical Establishment act.
Disclaimer: India.com Health is in no way tied to the IMA. We have no gripe with the accountability of doctors or for that matter any other profession. The views expressed here are purely our own.
Implications of the NCHRH being implemented are as follows:
- NCHRH 2011will lead to centralization which will take away the autonomy of all the different medical institutions and councils.
- The NCHRH will simply be an arm of the health department which is run by bureaucrats and will have no doctors on board.
- There are no elected members in the NCHRH.
- There are no provisions for professional organisations to be part of the NCHRH
- The bill fails to define modern medicine, dentistry, nursing, pharmacy and paramedics personnel.
- There is no clear roadmap in the NCHRH bill on how the NCHRH will work
- There seems to be absolutely no explanation on how the funds from various institutions will be transferred to the NCHRH.
- It’s actually considered misconduct for docs to take up other professions.
Some other issues pertain to medical education in the country
- It has been proposed that one medical exam will be conducted for ALL medical students in the country. This will harm students who haven’t studied in the CBSE board.
- It takes the medical council’s inputs on education and gives that power to the National Board of Health Education which would simply mean that education would be controlled by academicians only and not doctors
- It has actually proposed a distance learning course which is extremely dangerous considering the medical profession is based on hands-on experience
Some other issues include
- The membership pattern of the NCHRH is unacceptable. Docs will be represented by state bodies instead of organisations
- Candidates registered in one state won’t be able to practice in other states
In short the IMA feel that
- Medical education is a specified area.
- The NCHRH is of the Government, by the Government and for the Government and doesn’t care for the health profession or education at all.
- NCHRH will negatively affect the health education and healthcare scenario of the country.
- There is a need for independent Councils not a centralized government one.
India.com Health view
We can’t but help back the IMA’s protest. While on the face of it, it looks like the NCHRH will improve healthcare and accountability the fact remains that all it will do is put more power in the hands of bureaucrats with vested interests and take away any say that people who are actually part of the medical profession – doctors, pharmacists, paramedics, dentists and nurses – have in the running of the healthcare sector. It will give the health ministry too much power and lead to a big brother-like scenario. It will also hamper medical education in the country. The only institutions or groups that have really flourished in this country are the ones that have had complete autonomy from babudom be it the film industry, the IITs or the IT sector. The trickle-down effect here will be the fact that this will make it even harder to provide healthcare to the millions in a country where out of pocket expenditure on medicine is so high.
So dear readers please write in to us, especially doctors. We want your opinion. Is the NCHRH a good idea? Will it increase accountability and help doctors provide better healthcare or will it simply give politicians more power and say in how the medical profession is run?First Published: Jun 25, 2012 at 9:47 AM