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Ramesh Shankar
Tuesday, June 5, 2018, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

The Union Health Ministry has recently introduced, rather quietly, an amendment in the National Medical Commission Bill to create a new cadre of non-MBBS 'mid-level medical practitioners' with limited licence to practise specified medicines in primary and preventive healthcare settings and in other settings under the supervision of a medical doctor. Those who qualify as mid-level medical practitioners include non-MBBS medical professionals such as nurses with specific training like tertiary nursing care, pharmacists, physician assistants, optometrists, etc. This new cadre can prescribe specified medicines in settings specified by NMC and in hospital settings such as ICUs under a doctor's supervision. According to the amendment, the nurses may also be allowed to perform some surgical or critical procedures under the supervision of a senior doctor, and in certain circumstances. The ministry's latest move came after the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health rejected a controversial provision in the NMC Bill which enabled Ayush practitioners to prescribe a listed set of medicines after taking a Bridge Course. Taking a cue from the Committee’s recommendations to consider giving limited drug-prescription rights to nursing practitioners or pharmacists instead of Ayush experts, the ministry drafted a new provision in the Bill to grant limited licence to practise medicine to non-MBBS medical practitioners. The amended provision, which has already received the Cabinet nod, will now be part of the official amendments the government will move to the NMC Bill in the next session of Parliament.

The government's anxiousness to create a new cadre of non-MBBS medical practitioners is quite understandable as it has been trying to address a long standing issue of lack of medical attention in most part of the country, especially in the vast rural areas, arising from the severe shortage of doctors. The gravity of the situation can be fathomed from the country's pathetic doctor-patient ratio which remains a dismal 1:1600 as against the WHO mandated 1:1000. By creating a new non-MBBS medical cadre, the government wanted to fill the gap in the delivery of primary and secondary healthcare services in rural areas and share the workload of senior doctors. The government's move to train mid-level healthcare practitioners was inspired by the practice in China. Besides, many developed countries including the US and Canada have also implemented the system successfully. But, the government's decision has stirred up a Hornet’s nest as the medical fraternity is up in arms against the government move. Vehemently opposing the move, the Indian Medical Association has stated that such a provision will eventually boomerang on the healthcare sector as it would be difficult to define limited practice and specified medicines in the Indian context as flouting of rules is a common practice in the country. The medicos rue that creating an unqualified medical professional is endorsement of quackery. Before finalising the Bill, the government should, therefore, address the concerns expressed by the medicos to make this initiative a win-win situation for everyone. While government can ensure last mile availability of healthcare providers, the doctors can better utilise their expertise in secondary and tertiary care. But, all said and done, there should be proper checks and balances mechanism in place to thwart any misinterpretation of this controversial provision in the Bill.


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Juber mansoori Jan 12, 2019 12:11 PM
I m mp state citizen I m registered pharmacist mp . I am solve my problem for approval pharma clinic in mp
Riaj seakh Oct 2, 2018 1:38 AM
Gov.should give right pharmacist to prescribe medicine in rural areas in India. As there are lack of doctor many people suffering problem and they would go many miles for hospital from their house.Pharmacist can fill lack of treatment in rural areas in India .
Satyendra kumar Jul 28, 2018 7:36 AM
Ye gov. Ke lie bahut Accha prayaas hai. Is she poor logo ki Kam paisa me treatment ho jaega
pradeep awasthi Jun 17, 2018 2:06 PM
In Country like india,where majority of population resides in rural areas where unemployment and malnutrition are common condition which has given a rise to dìfferent ailments and people suffers from health crisis.The formation of new NMC bill has included a bridge course for ayush practioners to enable them for practicing allopathy medicine to catter the increase need of health practioners in rural areas,but it was strongly opposed by many doctors looking to the serious challange on code of ethics to the modern medicine practise.

The recent amendment of union health ministry to train non MBBS professionals for creating new cadre ofmid level medical practioners which can practise based on license of NMC and can prescribe medicine in specified practise is again point of exertion between IMA doctors and government,As new amendment provide freedom to prescribe medicine to pharmaçist,physician assìtant who can violate the code of ethics defined by IMA.Thus for the sake of ca
M.R. Krishnan Jun 15, 2018 1:14 PM
Even witout this AMENDMENT there are thousands of QUACKS, spoiling the health of CITIZENS. This is a DANGEROUS STEPwhich will harm only the marginalised poor, who can not go to PRIVATE HOSPITALS and Govt dispensaries out of their reach
Chinna eranna Jun 8, 2018 11:13 AM
This good opportunity
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