From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Nothing much
Mains level : NMC Bill - analysis; Challenges with MCI
National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill, 2019 passed by the Rajya Sabha evoked widespread protests from doctors. The Indian Medical Association (IMA) called an all-India strike against a few contentious aspects of the bill.
- Section 32 of the NMC Bill would grant “limited” licenses to almost 3,50,000 “community health providers” to practice allopathic medicine, provided they meet a set of qualifying criteria.
- Practitioners of ayurveda, yoga and naturopathy, unani, siddha and homoeopathy could undertake a “bridge course” and legally start offering primary healthcare.
Reasons behind the provision
- India is woefully short of trained doctors, especially in the countryside.
- The shortage has slowed the state’s program to scale up healthcare facilities and medical education infrastructure.
- India still has less than one doctor for every 1,000 people, the WHO’s minimum ratio for healthcare adequacy.
- For the efficacy of schemes such as Ayushman Bharat covering 500 million citizens with health insurance—a vast leap needs to be taken on that count.
- These factors favor a pragmatic approach; a licensing system by which paramedics and others with an elementary grounding in healthcare could make up a part of the shortfall.
- Public services are unreliable and many find themselves priced out of the private market, thus, making medical consultancy unaffordable.
- According to the IMA, letting patients be treated by people without MBBS degrees would amount to quackery gaining legitimacy in a country full of fraudulent cures and dodgy practices.
- Independent panel of well-regarded doctors could keep a close watch on the eligibility process for licenses.
- This could involve a common test after practical training has already been imparted.