[op-ed snap] Heal thyself

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Mains Paper 2: Governance | Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Medical Council of India (MCI)

Mains level: MCI- problems; National Medical Commission Bill of 2016- provisions, challenges etc


News

Context

  1. Medical education scams continue unabated under the MCI’s stewardship. But merely replacing it is not the solution

  2. The regulator of medical education is itself in need of regulation

Medical Council of India (MCI)-Issues

  1. Volume of litigation that the MCI faces suggest that the regulator is neither in command nor perceived to be so
  2. It has imposed a uniform benchmark for admissions at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels
    • But different syllabi and diverse languages in different states tilt the level playing field.
  3. While the MCI is standardising entrance tests, it is failing to assure uniform, quality education for entrants who qualify.
  4. As an implication, the promise that India holds as a destination for medical tourism and education stands compromised.

National Medical Commission Bill of 2016

  • It proposes to trifurcate the functions of the MCI to reducer corruption, may prove to be superficial

Why?

  1. It would eventually leave the monopoly in accreditation intact, and opaqueness would remain a problem
  2. Intersection of private enterprise and medical education and practice is laden with incentives for corruption.
  3. Marketing of pharmaceuticals and equipment exert unhealthy influences
  4. Inspection of teaching hospitals is a scandal, with doctors and even patients being “rented” for the day.
  5. The scarcity of seats and their marked-up price tag is also a reason for corruption

Way forward

  1. Merely replacing the MCI will not suffice. Its successor must be armed with rules-based transparency to prevent rent-seeking.
  2. Examination reform could have followed

Back2basics

National Medical Commission Bill, 2016 

Salient Provisions

The bill seeks to address the following:

  1. Ensure adequate supply of high quality medical professionals at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
  2. Encourage medical professionals to incorporate the latest medical research in their work and to contribute to such research.
  3. Provide for objective periodic assessments of medical institutions.
  4. Facilitate the maintenance of a medical register for India and enforce high ethical standards in all aspects of medical services.
  5. Ensure that the medical institutes are flexible enough to adapt to the changing needs of a transforming nation.

Medical advisory council

The bill seeks to constitute a Medical Advisory Council which will undertake the following functions:

  1. The Council shall serve as the primary platform through which the states would put forward their views and concerns before the National Medical Commission (NMC) and shall help shape the overall agenda in the field of medical education & training.
  2. The Council shall advise the NMC on the measures to determine, maintain and coordinate the minimum standards in the discipline of medical education, training and research.
  3. The Council shall advise the NMC on measures to enhance equitable access to medical education
Medical Education Governance in India
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