- Mention the key pointers of the draft guidelines.
- Delineate the associated challenges with the draft guidelines.
The National Medical Commission (NMC) is planning to switch over to a licentiate test after MBBS, releasing a draft guideline on how the doctors will be registered in order to practice medicine. The NMC has put out a set of three draft regulations on the registration of doctors to the National Medical Register. The guidelines aim to bring uniformity to the registration process of Indian medical practitioners.
Three Draft guidelines :
The NMC has released three future-looking draft regulations: (1) License to Practice Medicine, 2022; (2) Registration of Additional Qualifications, 2022; and (3) Temporary Registration of Foreign Medical Practitioner to Practice Medicine in India.
The guidelines provide a framework for creating a dynamic National Medical Register, with a unique ID assigned to each student who qualifies NEET. The professional qualifications such as post-graduation and super-speciality training will be added to the same ID.
- Eligibility for Indian Medical Graduates for getting registration: They have to: (a) Complete their MBBS degree from a recognised college; (b) Finish their mandatory 12-month long internship; and (c) Pass the yet-to-be-implemented licentiate exam called National Exit Test (NExT) for getting their registration.
- Eligibility for Foreign medical graduates for getting registration: They have to: (a) Complete their MBBS-equivalent degree from a medical institute “recognised and listed by the NMC” in other countries, (b) Be registerable as a medical practitioner in the said country, (c) Complete a 12-month internship in India and d) pass the same NExT exam.
The draft guidelines also state, “All licenced practitioners are obliged to inform and update their data in the National Register such as Additional Qualifications, Contact Details, and Place of Practice / Employment as soon as changes occur.”
Challenges associated with draft guidelines :
- The students who study medicine in foreign has to complete a year-long internship in the country of their study and come back and do another year-long internship in India. The new guidelines do not specify this.
- The draft guidelines also put an onus on the doctors to update their registration with details of additional qualifications, change in employment, contact details, or place of work “as soon as the change occurs”.
- The standardisation with NExT will lead to mushrooming of Coaching institutes to bridge the gap in educational Institutes. This is seen in India with NEET and similar other national tests such as the Joint Entrance Examination and Common Law Admission Test.
- There are no professional exams for Engineers, Graduates of Arts and Science to practice their respective jobs after graduation, except in certain scenarios like pursuing higher education or trying any government employment.
- At present, MBBS finals have already tested the knowledge of MBBS aspirants. Making NExT mandatory will create a dual exam for practising medicine.
- These can further impact the number of practicing doctors.
With a consolidated national register and unique ID, there will be no duplication of data. Further, the data will be updated more frequently, resulting in a comprehensive database of doctors in India, including details on all their education and training in one place. This database can then be shared with state governments or other health programmes, looking to hire doctors.