April 12, 2011

Doctors' panel has freedom to regulate medical education: Govt

The six-member panel of eminent doctors, which replaced a tainted Medical Council of India last year, has ''total freedom'' to regulate medical education in the country, Rajya Sabha was informed today.

"Board of Governors (of MCI) has total freedom whatsoever. We do not interfere except for policy directions," Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said during Question Hour.

The government had in May last year dissolved the MCI, which was set up 76 years ago to regulate medical eduction in the country. The general council of the MCI was superseded on May 15, when the Centre promulgated an ordinance following the arrest of MCI president Ketan Desai by the CBI on charges of corruption.

It was replaced by a six-member panel of eminent doctors led by gastroenterologist S K Sarin. Azad said applications for six new medical colleges in Gujarat were received by MCI for 2011-12, of which four were government-run while two were private societies run institutions.

The Board of Governors of MCI approve of any medical college after inspection of facilities including faculty, hospital infrastructure and clinical materials. In case of the proposed medical colleges in Gujarat, deficiencies were found in infrastructure, clinical material and faculty and so approval has not been granted.

To a separate question, Azad said the Government has enacted the Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act, 2010 that will prescribe standards and a range for price that private and government hospitals can charge for a particular procedure.

"After the act is enforced, public will get relief" from overcharging and sometimes unnecessary medication or hospitalisation by some hospitals, he said.

"When range and standards are decided, these complaints will reduce if not completely be eliminated," he said. But so far only four states - Himachal Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoran and Sikkim - have passed resolutions in their respective assemblies for adopting the act.

The act will also be applicable on UTs, he said adding states have been requested to pass relevant resolutions in their assemblies. Health is a state subject and it is primarily the responsibility of the state governments to regulate or monitor the functioning of clinical establishments.

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