By Rupin Chopra and Vikram Narula
The National Medical Commission Act, 2019 (hereinafter referred to as ‘Act’) came into force on August 08, 2019. The Act focuses on providing high quality medical education and adequate availability of medical professionals in across the country. The Act also emphasizes on providing equitable and universal healthcare facilities that provide encouragement from community health perspective. It promotes use of latest medical research into use by the professionals. Additionally, it presses on providing highest ethical standards in the field of medical education and provides for establishment of effective grievance redressal system. The Act also elaborates on recognition of medical education and qualification, inside and outside India.
Key Highlights of the Act
- The Act provides for the constitution of a National Medical Commission (hereinafter referred to as ‘Commission’) which shall be a corporate body having perpetual succession. The Commission shall perform the functions as mention in the Act. The Commission shall be empowered to lay down policies for maintenance and regulation of medical institutions and medical professionals. The Commission is also empowered to frame guidelines for determining the fees and related charges in respect of 50% seats in private medical institutions and deemed universities.
- The Act further provides for constitution of a Medical Advisory Council. The Council shall be a platform for the States and Union Territories to put forth their views and concerns before the Commission. The Act provides for National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test at undergraduate level and National Exit Test for grant of license after completion of course for granting of license.
- The Act establishes other regulatory bodies and committees such as Advisory Board, Search Committee, Under Graduate Medical Education Board, Post Graduate Medical Education Board, Medical Assessment and Rating Board and Ethics and Medical Registration Board for regulating and structuring formal medical education.
- The Act specifically states that no person shall be allowed to open a new medical college or commence a new post graduate course or increase the number of existing seats without the prior permission of the Medical Assessment and Rating Board (hereinafter referred to as ‘MARB’). For obtaining the permission the applicant will be required to submit a scheme to the MARB in the prescribed form accompanied by the prescribed fees. The scheme can either be approved or disapproved by MARB within 6 months of receiving the receipt of application. If no decision is made by MARB within 6 months the applicant can then appeal to the Commission. A second appeal to the Central Government can be preferred if the scheme is disapproved by the Commission too. The criteria for approval or disapproval of the scheme depends upon several factors such as: adequate availability of financial resources, adequacy in medical faculties and other necesrsary resources, adequate hospital facilities and other facilities as may be prescribed.
Community health service providers can now be granted a limited license to practice. These health service providers can only prescribe specified medicine for primary and preventive healthcare.
Medical education and medical professionals affect everybody directly or indirectly. The Act provides a comprehensive framework for development of the same in India. The compliance for opening up a medical college is now been made clearer and the provision for appeal gives an equal representation to the applicant for being heard. There are many students who complete their medical education outside India, the position of their qualification has also been clarified now. The provision of limited license to community service providers will now help to curate faster medical attention and is a step towards the betterment of the society.