NMC's NEXT Exam
In an effort to reform the medical education sector, the Lok Sabha on July 29, passed the National Medical Commission Bill or the NMC Bill. The bill is currently touted as one of the most radical reforms within the medical education sector and proposes to replace the MCI or the Medical Council of India with the National Medical Commission. Union minister of health, Dr Harsh Vardhan calls the bill pro-poor and a crucial step to conducting this sector with integrity.
The bill, aside from introducing urgent reforms to make medical education field more inclusive, is also clear with the reasons for doing away with the Medical Council of India. The high levels of corruption within the MCI and the yearly inspections system have been considered for some time now to be the most alarming ills plaguing the sector. The latter is also the reason why the bill is claiming to be providing an end to 'inspection Raj' system of the MCI. On the other hand, the string of reforms so proposed by the bill, aimed at undoing the previous errors of the system and replacing those with more pro-people policies.
The foremost in this regard is the introduction of the National Exit Test (NEXT). This exam is to serve as an entrance exam for admission into post-graduate courses. The NEXT exam, which also does away with the NEET exam, would be conducted in the last year of MBBS course thereby also serving a dual function of providing a platform to those planning to pursue PG in medical education.
The bill also allows the NMC to assess the medical institutions in the country besides regulating fees of government colleges and fifty percent seats of the private medical colleges/deemed universities. It is, for this reason, the bill is considered to be pro-poor or pro-people in nature.
Interestingly, the bill also introduces this concept of 'bridge course' that allows those practising in the field of unanimous, Ayurveda or Homoeopathy, to practice 'limited allopathy'. Once the bridge course is complete, these doctors would be deemed eligible for prescribing medicines for minor ailments in primary health care centres.
The NMC would be a twenty-five members body and a search committee would perform the function of providing name(s) for the chairperson and the members forming this council to the government.
We would love to hear your opinion and views on this in the comments below.