Bridge course provision in NMC bill to address shortage of doctors: Govt
New Delhi: A provision in the draft National Medical Commission Bill of a bridge course for AYUSH doctors to enable them practice allopathy seeks to address the "acute shortage" of doctors in the country, the government has said.
The health ministry has put up on its website a section 'Frequently Asked Questions' about the bill, a move to address concerns of the medical fraternity about various provisions.
The bill has been referred to a Parliamentary Standing Committee after it witnessed opposition regarding different provisions from the medical fraternity.
The ministry has also assured that the bridge course would not be unscientific and dangerous.
"NMC will be dominated by allopathic doctors. If all of them unanimously approve a bridge course after due consideration, then there is no reason to assume that it will be unscientific and dangerous.
"The course would be designed in such a manner that it would enable the participants to prescribe a limited set of medicines in a responsible manner," the ministry said to a question whether the bridge course would be unscientific and dangerous.
It said the NMC bill seeks to fill in the gaps of availability of healthcare personnel by facilitating trained AYUSH practitioners to expand their skill sets through the bridge course and provide preventive and promotive allopathic care.
It also said with growing incidence of non-communicable diseases (NCD), there is a need to provide holistic prevention and treatment of diseases and AYUSH plays an effective role in integrating the preventive and promotive aspect of healthcare.
"India has a doctor-population ratio of 1:1655 as compared with the WHO standards of 1:1000. In addition, city doctors are not willing to work in rural areas as can be seen in the urban rural ratio of doctor density (3.8:1).
"There are 7,71,468 AYUSH practitioners in India who can be leveraged to improve the health access situation of the country," the health ministry said.
According to the document on the website, there is already a policy for co-locating AYUSH and allopathy to ensure better utilisation of resources.
Further, with the government's target to revamp 1,50,000 sub health centres into health and wellness centres, there is a need of large human resource to meet this challenge.