NEW DELHI: The crucial decision on whether to allow foreign national doctors to practice in India, besides allowing Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) to work in the country without appearing for a screening test will be taken up by the Union Cabinet on Tuesday.
TOI was the first to report how the health ministry’s National Council of Human Resources in Health (NCHRH) Bill aims to create an overarching body to regulate medical education.
A senior health ministry official told TOI that the Bill has been sent to the Cabinet for its approval following which it will be tabled in the ongoing Winter session Parliament.
India faces an acute shortage of doctors. The number of allopathic doctors registered with the Medical Council of India (MCI) stands at around 6.12 lakhs in 2011, a ratio of one doctor for 1,953 people or a density of 0.5 doctors per 1,000 population.
As per a Planning Commission study, the country is short of six lakh doctors, 10 lakh nurses and 2 lakh dental surgeons. Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad has said over 3,000 Indian doctors have migrated overseas in the last three years.
The Bill has suggested making it easier for OCI doctors to come to India. It says OCIs would not be required to appear for a screening test as required now to practice in India.
An overarching Council will be set up, which will have the Medical Council of India (MCI), Pharmacy Council of India (PCI), Nursing Council of India (NCI), Dental Council of India (DCI) and the proposed Central Councils for Paramedical and Allied Medical Sciences Education under it.
The Council will bring about reforms in medical education to increase supply of skilled medical personnel to the healthcare sector. The body will be headed by a secretary-general who will hold office for a fixed term of three years. S/he will have a secretariat that will have seven departments, each dedicated for separate categories like medicine, pharmacy, nursing, dentistry, rehabilitation and physiotherapy, public health and hospital management and allied health sciences.
Every state will have a separate sub-body constituted by the Council for each administrative department that will be known as Registration and Ethics Board. These bodies will replace the existing State Councils.
The Bill proposes a National Committee for Accreditation and a National Medical Education and Training Board for the registration and accreditation of medical colleges and preparation of curricula.