No ‘crosspathy’: House panel to oppose bridge course on allopathy for Ayush practitioners
The National Medical Commission Bill 2017 has been embroiled in controversy since it was announced, with allopathic doctors protesting against the provision wherein Ayush practitioners could prescribe allopathic drugs after completing a ‘bridge course’.india Updated: Feb 23, 2018 23:18 IST
The parliamentary panel on health wants the government to scrap its proposal for a bridge course to allow Ayush practitioners practice allopathy, two panel members said on condition of anonymity.
The panel, which is reviewing the new National Medical Commission bill, which envisages overhauling medical education and replaces the tainted Medical Council of India, will also seek several other changes in the flagship legislation.
“We want to strengthen Ayush. But we do not want this ‘Crosspathy’. This will cause a great harm to Ayush as its practitioners will leave the traditional systems and start practising allopathy, which is more lucrative,” said a prominent member of the panel.
The National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill, 2017, has been embroiled in controversy since it was announced, with allopathic doctors protesting against the provision wherein Ayush practitioners could prescribe allopathic drugs after completing a ‘bridge course’. The Indian Medical Association (IMA) on January 1 also had called a day-long nationwide strike, to protest against the Bill. The strike was called off only after the bill was referred to the parliamentary standing committee.
The panel, headed by Samajwadi Party’s Ramgopal Yadav, also wants changes in the composition of the NMC board. The proposed board has 25 members out of which five are to be elected, 17, from the government of India and the remaining three, from the states.
“We will demand more representation from the states and we are also opposed to election in the five seats. Remember, one of the key problems of corruption in MCI was because of election of its executive committee and other key posts,” said another senior MP, a member of the House panel.
“Fighting MCI elections was more expensive that fighting assembly polls,” quipped a member.
In its report to the Parliament, the panel however will ask the government to make massive investments in Ayush and maintain that it requires major expansion across India. “The Revised estimate for Ayush in 2017-18 was Rs 1558 crore and in the 2018-19 budget only Rs 1600 crore has been allotted. The government should spend more. But no mix Ayush with allopathy,” said the third member.
In a bid to promote Ayush, the panel is likely to add in its report that at least 50% of the 1.5 lakh wellness centres proposed in the general budget of 2018-19 should be based only on Ayush.
The panel is set to present its report in the second half of the budget session that starts on March 5.
“We have a problem against the ‘bridge course’ clause as it will dilute the quality of medical education. Also, choosing board members who are nominated rather than elected is an attempt by the government to ensure bureaucrats and politicians have a stronghold over the commission. There should be elected members,” said Dr Harjit Singh Bhatti, president Resident Doctors’ Association, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi.
The RDA AIIMS has been quite vocal about its and its president, Dr Bhatti was invited for consultation on the Bill by the parliamentary standing committee on health on Tuesday.
The ministry of health and family welfare has been maintaining that it will rely entirely on suggestions made by the parliamentary panel.
“We have referred the Bill to the panel and further course of action will be decided on the basis of what the panel decides,” Union health minister JP Nadda said earlier this month, after referring the Bill to the panel.
The panel however, is unlikely to make any change to the proposal to shut down MCI.