British Medical Journal calls for revamping of MCI

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New Delhi, April 1 (IANS) The British Medical Journal (BMJ) in its latest issue has called for radical reforms of the Medical Council of India (MCI) which, it said, failed to oversee quality and integrity in health services in the country.

The BMJ editorial, authored by Samiran Nundy, Sanjay Nagral and Anita Jain, comes after the parliamentary standing committee on health said the MCI had become a “biased” organisation acting “against larger public health goals”.

“MCI’s policies have been coloured by those with vested interests, leading to a lack of uniform standards in undergraduate and postgraduate medical education and mushrooming of private medical institutions, which are run as business ventures,” said a press release issued by the BMJ, quoting the authors.

The authors said the parliamentary panel report was accurate in describing the situation as regards medical education and profession.

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“For those of us in the medical profession in India who have been despairing of the state of affairs, this report is a long awaited panacea,” said Nundy, who is dean of Ganga Ram Institute for Postgraduate Medical Education and Research.

The MCI was established under the Indian Medical Council Act 1933 and given the responsibility for maintaining standards of medical education, providing ethical oversight, maintaining the medical register, and, through amendments in 1993, sanctioning medical colleges.

Following the failure of the task given to MCI, the organisation was temporarily dissolved in 2010 after charges of corruption, note the authors of the BMJ editorial.

“The MCI has also failed to create a rigorous transparent system for accrediting medical colleges, leading to geographical maldistribution and creation of ghost faculties in private medical colleges,” said Nundy.

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Jain, who is research editor of the BMJ India, stated: “For the citizens of India strained by the dual burden of expensive and unethical healthcare, the report could be a powerful tool in their struggle to make the healthcare system deliver their needs.”

In 2014, the BMJ launched a campaign against corruption that sparked global interest in the rampant practices of kickbacks for referrals, revenue targets in corporate hospitals, and capitation fees in private medical colleges in India.

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