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Mechanism for ethical oversight of med practice sought

A Parliamentary panel has sought a stronger mechanism for ethical oversight of medical practice to address concerns of malpractices or medical negligence by doctors to restore the respect “medical profession has lost”.

In its report presented to Rajya Sabha, the Committee noted with concern that although the Medical Council of India’s (MCI) code of Ethics Regulations, 2002 contains in detail what constitutes duties and responsibilities of the physician, it is idealistic in nature and there is no mechanism in place to oversee its implementation.

“Considering all these factors, the Committee recommends that the Code of Medical Ethics needs to be well defined to take care of the concerns of public safety and malpractices or medical negligence by doctors so that the doctor-patient relationship which has taken a severe beating, can be repaired and retrieved.

“For that to happen there needs to be a stronger mechanism for ethical oversight of medical practice and the legislation governing the oversight of professional conduct of doctors should be made more specific with provision for transparency and timelines,” Parliament’s Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare said in its report on the functioning of MCI.

The panel highlighted the issue of “inappropriate drug dispensing and unnecessary procedures and the commission- linked diagnostics” by medical practitioners and health institutions in India mainly due to financial incentives. It recommended formulation of treatment guidelines for various health conditions and their wide dissemination through publicity for protection of patients’ interests and rights.

“The Clinical Establishment (Registration and Regulation) Act 2010, can provide an umbrella legislation in this regard as it has the power to prescribe guidelines for all healthcare facilities,” it said. 

The Committee also called for an appeal mechanism to be put in place so the patient does not feel “stonewalled”.
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