Parliamentary Standing Committee on NMC Bill agrees on QPMPA proposal of mandatory 1-year rural stint for MBBS graduates

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The Parliamentary Standing Committee constituted to review and evaluate the proposals in the National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill has in principle agreed with the suggestions made by the Kerala-based Qualified Private Medical Practitioners Association (QPMPA) for one year mandatory rural stint for MBBS graduates. QPMPA is an organization of medical professionals parallel to Indian Medical Association (IMA).

The Committee has agreed upon the proposal of the QPMPA that one year rural stint for MBBS graduates should be made mandatory after their house-surgency period, and a bond should be signed by them in this regard. This will help solve the problem of scarcity of doctors in rural areas, where the people are deprived of healthcare facilities. The committee has found that rural India is facing acute shortage of medical practitioners and this proposal of the QPMPA is a considerable one.

Although some state governments have already mandated rural services for MBBS graduates, the IMA has not favored this concept and expressed dissatisfaction with the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the matter. The committee has not considered the objection of the IMA, but accepted the suggestion of the QPMPA. The recommendations of the standing committee were tabled in Parliament on March 20.

While welcoming the recommendation of the standing committee, Dr. CM Abubaker, president of QPMPA, said mandatory rural service is the only solution to deal with the issue of non-availability of doctors in rural areas. It is the duty of the government to provide quality healthcare to the poor people in the interior villages and government must try to implement all health schemes in villages. He had earlier given his proposal to the Prime Minister, Health Minister, Members of Parliament and to the Parliamentary Standing Committee.

For mandatory rural services, QPMPA proposes that an amendment in the Act has to be made by making it compulsory for the medical graduates after their house-surgency. Irrespective of any condition, all medical graduates of MBBS course must work as Rural Medical Practitioners (RMPs) for one year. This will enable the government to provide quality medical care to the rural public by qualified medical professionals, otherwise quacks will increase in villages. According to Dr. Abubaker, this change in medical education requires legal validity through Parliament.

He said if basic amenities are provided and incentives are given for higher studies, all the graduates will show interest to work in villages. Permission for appearing entrance test for higher study (for MD and MS) should be given only to those who serve one year in rural areas.

Another valuable suggestion made by QPMPA is that Section 15 of the Indian Medical Act 1956 should be included in the NMC Bill. As per the Section, the minimum qualification for practicing allopathy is MBBS and it is sufficient qualification for enrollment on the State Medical Register. The standing committee has considered this suggestion in its report to the Parliament, said Dr. C. M Abubaker.

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