Medicine 246 Comments

19h May, 2010, Wednesday

Why do we need to register with a State Council too?

Dear Colleague

The Medical Council of India (MCI) Act clearly defines that once we are registered with MCI through any state, we can practice anyplace in the country.

However, the Delhi Medical Council (DMC) Act requires registration with DMC if one desires to practice in Delhi. The law needs to be amended as is not sustainable in the court. How can we acquire a driving license for every state? If one is a resident of Delhi and holds a driving license issued by the appropriate authority, he can drive a vehicle throughout India.

After all, even Dr Ketan Desai who was the President of MCI and despite having MCI office in Delhi for all these years, he was not registered in Delhi Medical Council. I have also been told that even our DG Health is not registered with DMC.  More than 90% of army doctors are also not registered with Delhi Medical Council. Then why should other doctors be made to endure this process of re–registration with a State Council. If the state council registration was a must, all of them would have made sure that they were registered with the council.

There have been several DMC judgments wherein the DMC could not take action against the doctors as they were not registered with DMC. Once a person is practicing in Delhi as long as he or she is registered with MCI, the council should be able to discipline him or her and take appropriate action when required. A traffic inspector on the road can issue a ‘challan’ to you irrespective of the state where you got your driving license from.
Dividing the MCI may not be the answer

By an ordinance last week the central government dissolved the MCI and created a seven-member panel of eminent people that have taken over its functioning for the next one year. Uptil now every step is ok but during the next one year period the government is likely to dissolve the MCI and separate two basic functions of MCI — education and licensing. Education may go to the National Commission for Higher Education and Research (NCHER) under Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), and the licensing of medical practitioners under the National Council for Human Resources in Health (NCHRH) under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
The MCI has the following functions

1. licensing new medical colleges
2. ensuring quality education
3. training, maintenance of a list of registered medical practitioners
4. ensuring ethical practices in the profession, etc.

Is creating new institutions the only way of correcting the present crisis only the time will tell? In my view the medical profession requires an overall perspective that only a single entity can provide.

One should remember that the ‘health’ is already divided with “water supply and sanitation” under the ministry of rural development and ‘pharma prising ‘ under the ministry of chemicals and fertilisers. Now if “education and training” goes to MHRD what will remian with the haelth.
MCI was formed as an independent professional regulator. The health sector requires people with in-depth expertise. Only medical experts can have the necessary understanding to design and implement appropriate regulations. All over the world, it is professionally run medical associations that are in charge of such matters.

The solution, is to create within MCI the necessary tranparent checks and balances that enable organisations to function effectively and credibly.

THe checks should include

1. Auditing its activities
2. Transparency in the grading and registration of educational institutions
3. A regular and free election of key office-bearers

 I hope the new panel will debate before recommending their views to the prime minister. 

Dr KK Aggarwal
Padma Shri Awardee and Chief Editor