There is a move to bring wide-ranging reforms in the medical education sector. A parliamentary committee had recommended the scrapping of the Medical Council of India (MCI), stating that it had failed in its role as a regulator. Government is set to abolish MCI and replace it with a National Medical Commission (NMC), which will comprise of four independent boards to supervise under-graduate medical education, post-graduate education, accreditation and rating of colleges, medical registrar and ethics. Remarkably, ethics now finds place in medical education and healthcare. The establishment of this new regulator would help in making the system more assessment-based and would focus more on outcomes. The four boards will be functioning autonomously in the respective field for which they are formed. A national medical commission Act 2016 is ready to be introduced in the Parliament, which will lead to abolition of MCI and creation of NMC.
The National Medical Commission will be the successor in interest to the Indian Medical Council including its subsidiaries or owned trusts. All the assets and liabilities of the Indian Medical Council shall be deemed to have been transferred to the Commission. Notwithstanding the repeal of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956, the educational standards, requirements and other provisions of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 and the rules and regulations made there under shall continue to be in force and operate till new standards are specified under this Act or the rules and regulations made there under: Provided that anything done or any action taken as regards the educational standards and requirements under the enactments under repeal and the rules and regulations made there under shall be deemed to have been done or taken under the corresponding provisions of this Act and shall continue in force accordingly unless and until superseded by anything done or by any action taken under this Act.
The National Board of Examinations (NBE) shall be merged with the Post Graduate Medical Education Board (PGMEB). Provided further that all such courses that are being run by and the qualifications being awarded by the NBE shall be subsumed and added as the courses conducted by and qualifications awarded by the PGMEB and any reference to the existing National Board of Examinations in any law or rule or contract other than this Act shall be deemed as a reference to PGMEB hereinafter. The commission would be advised by another parallel body — the Medical Advisory Council — which would have representatives of all states and two union territories.
National eligibility and entrance test (NEET) has become a reality, as a suitable replacement for university examinations. It has the potential to modernize MBBS curriculum. The proposed Exit exam will bring uniformity of standard among the doctors. A common exit examination can thus begin to counter the failings of traditional university exams and lead to a series of positive changes in MBBS teaching and learning. Entire learning experience can be much more productive and less burdensome. However, such a transformation will also require a certain level of readiness in the medical colleges across the country.
Power and Functions of National Medical Commission
(1) To assess the changing requirements of the health care scenario, human resources for health, health care infrastructure and develop a road map for meeting these requirements.
(2) To frame requisite policies for the governance of Medical Education.
(3) To frame regulations for smooth working of the Commission and the Boards without undermining the autonomy of the Boards and within the provisions of this Act and Rules framed under it.
(4) To provide overarching policy coordination among the Boards with due regard to their autonomy.
(5) To ensure that State Councils effectively enforce the provisions of the Act and in event of inaction on their part, take such action as it deems fit to ensure compliance.
(6) To exercise Appellate Authority with respect to decisions of the UGMEB, PGMEB and Medical Accreditation and Assessment Board (MARB. ) and a board for registration of medical colleges as well monitoring of the ethics in the profession,
(7) To prescribe norms for determination of fees for a proportion of seats, not exceeding 40%, in the Private Medical Educational Institutions.
(8) To exercise such other powers and duties as the Central Government may confer upon it from time to time under the Rules framed under the Act.
Code of Ethics for medical practitioners
iii. For the purposes of this Act, the expression “professional misconduct” shall be deemed to include any act of commission or omission notified in the Fifth Schedule of this Act. Nothing in this section shall, however, limit or abridge the power conferred or duty cast on the respective Councils under this Act to inquire into the professional conduct of any doctor.
vii. To make recommendations and seek directions from the Government through the Commission.