From Rights of Doctors, to use of Med Dr Prefix: Medical Fraternity points out Lacunas in the draft NMC guidelines

New Delhi: Its the last day for submission of the comments to the draft National Medical Commission Registered Medical Practitioner (Professional Conduct) Regulations, 2022, and several members of the medical fraternity including doctors and associations have submitted their detailed responses to the commission.

The responses range from comments on the use of prefix Med Dr, to CPD credit hours and learning, generic prescriptions, online consultations, guidelines on social media for doctors and many more.

National Medical Forum, the NGO associated with Medical Dialogues has written to the Commission demanding the addition of the clause on the Rights of Medical Professionals during professional engagement. These include Right to Practice with Dignity, Right to Remuneration, Right to Protection from Harassment and Right to Learning.

“The Medical profession has always been a Missionary profession and a Doctor, works above the pressures of caste, creed and money yet during this devoted path of service to the society but in today’s developed and regulated society one needs to define the Right of a Registered Medical Practitioner (RMP) to save him from various exploitations, harassments from the motivated Disgruntled patience as well as criminals in the society and do his duties peacefully and complete its commitment towards his profession and society,” explained Dr Prem Aggarwal, President National Medical Forum.

“For Instance, RMP should have a right to work without harassment and exploitation while performing his duties by his seniors/employers/ governing officials in such a case, the RMP shall have a right to file a complaint to SMC/EMRB for protection and if the complaint found to be genuine the SMC shall take corrective measures. Similarly, like CPD has been made mandatory, physicians should be allowed appropriate leave for the CPDs,” he added.

Association of Healthcare Providers of India (AHPI) on the other hand demanded more clarification on the use of online platforms for HCP adding that the relevant clause should only restricted to the advertisements that can be placed by the RMPs for the purposes of solicitation of patients. This should not extend to the very presence of an RMP on the internet, enabling conversations between patients, by denying them the opportunity to become better aware of availability, information about healthcare practices that the RMP may choose to share (without flouting any other laws).

“More importantly, before going into all this, we need to understand that policy making has to be progressive and not regtrograde. It is important that before jumping into guildelines, a policy document comprising of codes which aims at promoting ethical conduct amongst medical professionals should be created following which drafting of regulations be undertaken,” said Dr Alex Thomas, President, Association of Healthcare Providers of India (AHPI).

Indian Medical Association on the other hand, objected to the use of Prefix Med Dr only. 

“There is definite need to distinguish practitioners of modern scientific medicine from
other ‘Dr’s. However Prefix “Med Dr.” does not appear to be the answer,it
should be Dr. only as a Prefix, which is being used for ages for Allopathy doctors &
it’s being identified also as a doctor qualified in modern medicine by the common
people. All the doctors registered under NMC Act do not use only prefix but write
complete qualifications also after their name. Another option can be an insignia
which may be allocated to the doctors of modern scientific medicine and this may
then be exclusively used by them). NMC can request Central Council of Indian
Medicine to ask its members to use the prefix like Vaidya and Ayurvedacharya,
Hakimor Homeopath as the case may be,” stated the IMA in its response.
Several organizations together demanded that putting a full stop to even third-party webinars and education events would be very detrimental to professional developments of doctors. Collectively majority of doctors agreed that when it comes to pharma sector involvement It should be mandatory for RMP to disclose their conflict of interest in public meetings or other forums, where such disclosures are required. However, noting that the majority of educational activites are organized by not-for-profit organizations and associations, recognized organizations and NGOs for CPD should be exempted from the purview of the above clause, which restricts the
acceptance of sponsorship from pharmaceutical companies and corporate
hospitals. 
Alcohol should not be served in any medical conference or meeting of doctors,” stated Cardiologist Dr Shrinivas in his reply, highlighting that this practice has been common in many conferences and seminars, ruining the sanctity of the medical education endeavour.

The Last date of Submitting responses to NMC is 22nd June, 2022. You can send your responses to NMC at email: emrb.ethics@nmc.org.in

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