Medical Council of India – Brookings India Paper Summary

Brookings India recently published a research paper on the Medical Council of India (MCI) bill to be put in parliament soon. A good read for UPSC.
The National Medical Commission Bill would create a National Medical Commission (NMC) to replace the currently existing and allegedly corrupt Medical Council of India.
Details –

  • This new body would be responsible for the medical accreditation of all medical education institutions within the country as well as maintaining a national registrar of all certified allopathic medical practitioners within the country.
  • The current draft should be lauded in its efforts to stem corruption by creating a system of accountability and a division of power, however the bill could both improve the structure of the NMC and the system of rules which it follows.

Background of MCI –

  • The Medical Council of India (MCI) was established in 1934 under the Indian Medical Council (IMC) Act of 1933. At the time, its primary function was to standardize both training in medicine and the accreditation of medical and surgical proficiency. In 1956, the original IMC Act was repealed and redesigned. It has subsequently received face-lifts with amendments enacted in 1964, 1993, and 2001.
  • The Council is composed of one representative from each State (appointed by the Central Government), one medical faculty member from each University (appointed by the Senate of the public University), one representative of each State which maintains a Medical Register (elected by members on the register), seven members enrolled on any of the State Medical Registers (elected from amongst themselves) and eight Central Government representatives (appointed by the Central Government). The MCI elect its President and Vice-President.

Objectives of MCI –
The Medical Council’s main objectives are –

  • Maintenance of uniform standards of medical education, both undergraduate and postgraduate.
  • Recommendation for recognition/de-recognition of medical qualifications of medical institutions of India or foreign countries.
  • Permanent registration/provisional registration of doctors with recognized medical qualifications.
  • Reciprocity with foreign countries in the matter of mutual recognition of medical qualifications.
  • Regulating professional conduct of Doctors registered under the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956.

Analysis –
After looking at various other countries and their accreditation systems, five changes can be recommended –

  • Removing NMC members from the Medical Advisory Council,
  • Creating regional medical councils in the place of third party organisations,
  • Adopting WHO guidelines as the basis of all standards set by the Under-Graduate Medical Education Board and the Post-Graduate Medical Education Board,
  • Ensuring that post-graduate schools receive accreditation only if they have a research based meritocracy for students and staff, and
  • Mandating that all medical school graduates work in the country for a limited amount of time.

Conclusion –
These changes can lead to significant improvements in the accreditation system of medical education in India. This is critical for the overall quality of healthcare services available in the country in the long run.

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