In a historic breakthrough, Union Cabinet has passed National Medical Commission Bill (NMC) to replace the current bill 63 years-old bill plaguing the Medical Council of India, to streamline our medical education system.
Union government has decided to revise and convert the final year examination of the MBBS course into a licentiate examination which could be used for a Foreign Medical Graduate Test and National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test for Post Graduate, known as National Exit Test (NEXT).
This new bill has given a sigh of relief to medical aspirants. NMC has also proposed to reduce the exorbitant fees for 50 per cent of the seats in deemed universities and private medical education.
Medical educational environment will be restructured in the coming months. NMC would operate four autonomous boards:
- Under-Graduate Medical Education Board
- Medical Assessment and Rating Board
- Post-Graduate Medical Education Board and
- Ethics and Medical Registration Board
Commission will revamp medical education with the help of these boards.
According to the bill, national entrance procedures for medical courses would be unified for MBBS admissions to ensure uniform standards. National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET), NEXT and admission counselling would be applicable to All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Institutes of National Importance (INIs) and other medical institutes.
Under the bill, it has been decided to set up Medical Advisory Council as a separate entity. States would put forward their views and concerns before NMC through this council. This entity would re-frame the overall structure of medical education.
This bill was introduced in Lok Sabha in December 2017; first draft was sent to the standing committee in January 2018. Several amendments were introduced after a stormy debate in parliament.
Replying to the debate, Prakash Javadekar, Union Minister said, “Currently, we are having NEET and entrance exams for AIIMS, etc. Now we will also have an exit exam that will be for everyone for getting a license to practice medicine in the country”.
“These measures through an autonomous commission will ensure a transparent admission process and also reduce admission fees, as we have long been talking about fee regulation in private colleges”, Prakash Javadekar added.
“At present, different medical colleges have different MBBS exam patterns, which means we are never sure of the quality of the medical graduate passing out of MBBS. The NMC proposal is to ensure a uniform national pattern for final year MBBS exam so that all medical graduates who get the licence to practise conform to uniform national standards and quality”, reiterated by Union Health Ministry.
According to government sources, “Medical colleges have to conform to standards the NMC will lay down. Once they conform and are permitted to operate, there would be no need for annual renewals. That system will end.”
Under NMC, Medical Assessment and Rating Board (MARB) would evaluate the medical colleges and develop a ranking system.
The bill would create a separate unit of non-MBBS, pharmacists, and nursing practitioners to distribute medicines.
Under the supervision of a medical practitioner, limited license would be available for mid-level health service providers to practise specified medicines in primary and preventive healthcare.
Board of Ethics will maintain a separate register for this new body as limited drug prescription rights will be provided to them.
We may see something similar in Dentistry soon, thoughts?