What is the NMC bill?
NMC bill is to regulate medical education and practice in India. It was introduced by the Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Dr. Harsh Vardhan on 22nd July 2019 and later it was approved by the Lok Sabha on 29th July 2019 and by the Rajya Sabha on 1st August 2019. It was signed into a law by the President Ram Nath Kovind on 8th August 2019. NMC will be replacing the existing MCI. Along with the change in authority, many additional changes are going to be brought about which will affect both medical education and practice in the coming years. It basically aims at instilling a better system for everyone belonging in this field and help to reduce corruption in medical administrative bodies.
- Improve access to quality & affordable medical education.
- Ensure an adequate supply of high-quality medical professionals at both UG and PG level.
- Encourage medical professionals to incorporate medical research into their work and also contribute.
- Promote national health goals.
- Periodic assessment of medical institutions across the country.
- Is flexible to adapt to the changing needs of a transforming nation.
- Maintenance of a national medical register for the country and enforce high ethical standards.
When was the NMC bill passed?
NMC, National Medical Commission Bill was passed on July 29, 2019, by both the upper and lower houses of the Indian Parliament and replaced the almost 63-year-old medical council of India (MCI).
What are the functions of the NMC bill?
- Lay down various policies to maintain high quality and standards in medical education and make necessary regulations.
- Lay down various policies to regulate medical institutions, researches, and professionals.
- Assess the requirements in healthcare, including human resources for health and healthcare infrastructure, and develop a road map for meeting such requirements.
- Promote, coordinate and frame guidelines and lay down policies by making necessary regulations for proper functioning.
- Ensure coordination among the autonomous boards.
- Take measures to ensure compliance by the state medical councils of the guidelines framed and regulations made under this Act for their effective functioning (under the bill, states should set up their respective state medical councils within 3 years and will have a role similar to the NMC but at the state level).
- Exercise appellate jurisdiction concerning the decisions of the autonomous boards.
- Lay down policies to ensure observance of professional ethics in the medical profession and also to promote ethical conduct during the provision of care by medical practitioners.
- Frame guidelines to determine fees in 50% of seats in private colleges and deemed universities.
Why is MCI being replaced by NMC?
MCI was previously responsible for regulating medical education and practice in India. Over the decades, there have been several issues with it’s functioning concerning lack of accountability, it’s regulatory role, composition & repeated allegations of corruption. It’s members are elected by medical practitioners themselves, basically, the regulator is elected by the regulated.
The objective of NMC is to move towards outcome-based regulation of medical education and practice rather than process-oriented, to ensure proper separation of functions by autonomous boards and creating an accountable and transparent procedure for maintaining standards in medical education and practice. To meet this above objective, the NMC Bill 2019 repeals the Indian Medical Council Act of 1956 and dissolves the existing MCI.
What are the 4 regulatory bodies being set up by NMC?
4 autonomous boards will be set up under the supervision of the NMC and each board will consist of a President and 4 members (out of which 2 members will be part-time), appointed by the central government. These 4 bodies are:
1. Under-Graduate Medical Education Board (UGMEB)
2. Post-Graduate Medical Education Board (PGMEB)
These 2 bodies will be responsible for formulating standards, curriculum, and guidelines for medical education and also granting recognition to medical qualifications at the UG and PG levels respectively.
3. Medical Assessment and Rating Board
Responsible for levying monetary penalties on colleges which fail to maintain minimum standards as laid down by the above UGMEB and PGMEB. Also responsible for granting permissions for establishing new colleges, starting PG courses, and also increasing the number of seats.
4. Ethics and Medical Registration Board
Responsible for maintaining a national register of all the licensed medical practitioners and also regulating professional and medical conduct. Only those who are a part of the register are allowed to practice. Also responsible for maintaining a register of all the licensed community health providers.
Who will be a part of the NMC?
Consist of the following 33 people (to be appointed by the Central Government):
1. A chairperson
The chairperson should be a medical professional of outstanding ability, proven administrative capacity, and integrity, having a PG degree in any discipline of medical sciences from and having experience of 20+ years out of which at least 10 years shall be as a leader in the area of medical education.
2. 10 ex officio members
- The following persons shall be the ex officio members:
- President of UG Medical Education Board.
- President of the PG Medical Education Board.
- President of the Medical Assessment and Rating Board.
- President of the Ethics and Medical Registration Board.
- Director-General of Health Services, Directorate General of Health Services, New Delhi.
- Director-General, Indian Council of Medical Research.
- Director of any of the 15 AIIMS.
- 2 persons from amongst the Directors of PG Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh; JIPMER, Pondicherry; Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai; North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences, Shillong; and All India Institute of Hygiene and Public Health, Kolkata.
- 1 person to represent the Ministry of the Central Government dealing with Health and Family Welfare, not below the rank of Additional Secretary to the Government of India.
3. 22 part-time members
The following persons shall be the part-time members:
- 3 members shall be appointed who have special knowledge and experience in areas such as management, law, medical ethics, health research, consumer or patient rights advocacy, science, technology, and economics.
- 10 members shall be appointed on a rotational basis from amongst the nominees of the States and Union territories in the Medical Advisory Council for a term of 2 years.
- 9 members to be appointed from amongst the nominees of the States and Union territories in the Medical Advisory Council for a term of 2 years.
What’s NEXT for MBBS graduates? [Latest News & Updates]
One of the important provisions in the bill is the introduction of the NEXT (National Exit Test) for students pursuing MBBS. NEXT will serve 2 purposes, a PG entrance exam (hence replacing NEET PG) & a screening test for foreign as well as Indian graduates. The basic idea behind NEXT is to standardize medical qualification in the country.
The NMC bill mentions that changes will be brought into effect, starting 3 years from the day on which the bill has been passed. Therefore, NEXT will come into effect and will be implemented in 2022 (for MBBS students passing out in 2022, that gave NEET UG in 2017). In short, the NMC bill will have no immediate effect on NEET PG.
I advise every medical aspirant and medical student to read the NMC bill entirely to gain complete information on what it’s about and how it’s going to affect you directly or indirectly. Don’t worry, for your reference, I have attached a link below where you can download the NMC bill pdf directly without any hassles.
Good luck Medicoholics! Until next time.