June 26, 2011

TN med council locks horns with MCI

A stand-off between the Tamil Nadu State Medical Council and the Medical Council of India (MCI) is threatening to spoil the monitoring of ethical medical practices and other administrative affairs governing the medical fraternity in the state.

The state council has decided to meet Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad to protest against the newly-appointed MCI. The state council, which has over one lakh doctors registered, has not been represented in the council, which was nominated by the centre.

"We will not cooperate with this MCI which has no representative from the southern states. We demand that a new MCI be elected, not nominated. If that is not done, we will move the court," said Tamil Nadu State Medical Council president Dr K Prakasam.

The Medical Council of India is a statutory body which oversees the standards of medical education in India, grants licenses to recognize medical colleges and medical degrees, registers practitioners and oversees ethical practices. Disciplinary actions against recommended by MCI against doctors have to be carried by the state medical council concerned.

In 2010, the government replaced MCI with a board after the elected president Dr Ketan Desai was arrested on charges of taking bribe to recognise a medical college in Punjab. Earlier this month, senior cardiologist Dr KK Talwar, former director, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education, Chandigarh replaced Dr SK Sarin as MCI president. The ministry nominated four doctors as members of the board -- Dr SK Sharma (Tata Memorial Centre, Mumbai), Dr Harbhajan Singh Rassam (Max Heart and Vascular Institute, New Delhi, Dr Rajiv Chitaman Yeravdekar (Symbiosis International University, Pune) and Dr Purushotham Lal (Metro Hospitals) in place of five members who were appointed earlier.

"When they appointed a board last year, it did not have any representatives from the state. The only representative from South was Dr Devi Shetty. This year, there is none for the southern states," said Dr Prakasam, who has sought for meeting with the health minister in Delhi next week.

The friction doesn't augur well for smooth administration of the medical fraternity. In 2010, when the government appointed board headed by Dr SK Sarin introduced the common entrance test for MBBS course, the union health ministry called the order illegal. States like Tamil Nadu obtained stay orders from the court on the common entrance.

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