From today, The National Medical Commission (NMC) will be the country’s apex regulator of medical education. The previous regulator, Medical Council of India, has been dissolved through a gazette notification.
The MCI was functioning under the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956, which now stands repealed and has been replaced by the NMC Act that came into being on August 8, 2019.
“Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 (102 of 1956) is hereby repealed with effect from September 25. The BoG appointed under section 3A of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 (102 of 1956) in supersession of the MCI constituted under sub-section (1) of section 3 of the said Act shall stand dissolved,” stated the gazette notification issued by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
Professor Suresh Chandra Sharma, former head of the ear nose throat (ENT) department at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, has been appointed chairman of the NMC. Dr Rakesh Kumar Vats, secretary general, BoG-MCI, has been appointed NMC secretary by the Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC).
One of the major medical educational reforms that has been initiated is: the MBBS examination will now be known as the National Exit Test (NEXT). NEXT will be common for both students pursuing MBBS in India and abroad. It will now act as the licentiate examination to practice medicine, the criteria for admission to post -graduate (PG) medical courses, and also for screening of foreign medical graduates.
NEXT will also be applicable to institutes of national importance such as all the AIIMS in a bid to ensure a common standard in the medical education sector in the country.
The regulatory bodies being set up under the NMC
Four autonomous boards under the supervision of the NMC will be set up. These are:
•The Under-Graduate Medical Education Board (UGMEB) and the Post-Graduate Medical Education Board (PGMEB): These two bodies will be responsible for formulating standards, curriculum, guidelines for medical education, and granting recognition to medical qualifications at the under-graduate and post-graduate levels respectively.
•The Medical Assessment and Rating Board: The Board will have the power to levy monetary penalties on institutions which fail to maintain the minimum standards as laid down by the UGMEB and the PGMEB. It will also grant permissions for establishing new medical colleges, starting postgraduate courses, and increasing the number of seats in a medical college.
•The Ethics and Medical Registration Board: This Board will maintain a National Register of all the licensed medical practitioners in the country, and also regulate professional and medical conduct. Only those included in the Register will be allowed to practice as doctors. The Board will also maintain a register of all licensed community health providers in the country.