By Shamika Ravi, Dhruv Gupta and Jaclyn Williams
The National Medical Commission Bill looks to create a National Medical Commission (NMC) to replace the existing (and extremely corrupt) Medical Council of India. This new body would be responsible for the accreditation of all medical education institutions within the country as well as maintaining a national registrar of all certified allopathic medical practitioners. The current draft should be lauded for its efforts to stem corruption, however the bill could benefit significantly by adopting six recommended changes to the structure of the NMC and the system of rules which it would follow.
After analysing medical education accreditation and global best practices, this paper suggests these specific recommendations to overhaul medical education in India:
- Removing NMC members from the Medical Advisory Council;
- Encouraging competition by creating regional medical councils in the place of third party organisations;
- Adopting World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines as the basis of all standards set by the Under-Graduate Medical Education Board and the Post-Graduate Medical Education Board;
- Ensuring that postgraduate schools receive accreditation only if they have a research-based meritocracy for faculty, staff and students;
- Increasing the effective supply of doctors by revisiting the guidelines permitting procedures for MBBS doctors and giving specialist status to qualified diploma holders; and
- Mandating that all medical school graduates work in the country for a limited amount of time.
These six changes can lead to significant improvements in the accreditation system of medical education in India. This is critical for the overall quality of healthcare services available in the country in the long run.
Like other products of the Brookings Institution India Center, this paper is intended to contribute to discussion and stimulate debate on important issues. The views are those of the author(s).