In its latest issue the British Medical Journal (BMJ) has advocated for a radical revamp of the Medical council of India (MCI) to remove corruption and lack of ethics in healthcare.

British Medical Journal , in its editorial on Thursday, has said, while referring to several observations in the Parliamentary standing committee report submitted in the Rajya Sabha in March, that the panel has laid bare the MCI’s failure to manage Background quality and integrity in health services in the country.

In its report the Parliamentary standing committee had criticized the Medical council of India for being “biased” organization acting “against larger public health goals”. It had described the Council as an “exclusive club” of medical doctors from corporate hospitals and private practice.

BMJ, in 2014, had initiated a campaign against corruption in the health sector. The journal published articles on kickbacks for referrals from doctors, revenue targets at corporate hospitals, and capitation fees in private medical college in India.

Taking serious note of these criticisms the committee had called for extensive reforms in the Medical council of India and removal of hurdles to the Common Medical Entrance Test for admission to MBBS and PG courses. It stressed that the admission should be granted on “merit” and not “on the ability to pay a capitation fee”.

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Present situation

In the latest BMJ editorial the Deen of Sir Ganga Ram Institute for Postgraduate Medical Education and research, Dr. Samiran Nundy has said that the Medical council of India “has failed to create a rigorous transparent system for accrediting medical colleges, leading to geographical mal-distribution and creation of ‘ghost faculties’ in private medical colleges.”

The authors of the BMJ editorial, lauding Parliamentary committee report, has Stated that it “is a landmark in identifying factors that have led to current scenario and apportions equal responsibility to the Health Ministry for letting thing come to this….”

All said, it is certain now that in order to act on the recommendations of the Committee; the Union Government would have to gather strong political support as any action would inevitably involve hearting well entrenched and powerful interests.

What is Medical council of India?

MCI (Medical Council of India), a statutory body, was first established under the Indian Medical Council Act, 1993.

The Council was later reconstituted under the Medical Council Act, 1956 that replaced the earlier Act. It was the responsibility for maintain standards of medical education, catering ethical oversight, maintaining the medical register, and through amendments in 1993¸sanctioning medical colleges.

Important functions of MCI

  • Regulation of postgraduate medical education in medical colleges accredited by it.
  • Accreditation of Medical Colleges
  • Establishment and maintenance of Uniform standards for undergraduate Medical education.
  • Recognitions of Medical qualifications granted by medical institutions in India.
  • Registration of doctors with recognized medical qualifications.
  • Recognition of foreign medical qualifications in India.
  • Keeping a directory of all registered doctors. This directory is called the Indian Medical register (IMR).

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