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Licence renewal time for doctors

Guwahati, July 31: Dispur has drawn up regulations to improve the way medicine is practised in the state.

The Assam Medical Council will soon start the exercise to renew licences of doctors, including those serving in private hospitals on the basis of their knowledge update and adherence to medical ethics. Those failing to prove that their skills are up-to-date will be prevented from practising medicine.

Kunja Lal Talukdar, the registrar of the medical council, told The Telegraph that a 19-member committee has been constituted to conduct an evaluation of doctors. He said the committee would soon seek applications from doctors to start the process.

The committee, comprising principals of six medical colleges and hospitals of the state, representatives of the Indian Medical Association, Srimanta Sankaradeva University of Health Sciences and the Assam health department will consider various factors like participation in Continuous Medical Education (CME), acquiring higher degrees and any complaint registered against a doctor while evaluating the applicants.

The state medical council, headed by the current director of state medical education Bhabani Prasad Chakravarty, will award academic credit points, in accordance with guidelines framed by the Medical Council of India (MCI), to registered practitioners for scientific CME/conference.

At present, doctors are supposed to register with the state medical council only once, after getting their degrees. The state medical council forwards the list to the MCI, which incorporates them into the Indian Medical Register.

Talukdar said the new system is the outcome of the Assam Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 2014, passed by the Assembly last year. The amended legislation has made it mandatory for doctors to renew their licences after every five years on the basis of knowledge update and adherence to medical ethics.

The development has come at a time when the state is witnessing an increasing number of cases of alleged lack of professionalism, sincerity and efficiency among medical practitioners, resulting in poor healthcare service to patients.

Bhabani Prasad Chakravarty said an online application system would soon be put place though which every medical practitioner registered with the Assam Medical Council could apply to renew his/her licence every five years with updated academic and professional credentials.

To renew the licences, doctors will have to deposit fees to the state medical council.

Talukdar said under the provision of the amended legislation the president of the state medical council would soon constitute an ethical committee and if any doctor is found guilty of violating ethics, his/her registration may be withdrawn for a period decided by the panel.

While many welcomed the development, some senior doctors have expressed reservation.

"How can doctors serving in the rural and remote areas find time to attend CME? Good and sincere doctors are always busy delivering the best healthcare service to the people," a former principal of Gauhati Medical College and Hospital said.

Under the amended legislation, non-Indian doctors with a foreign medical degree, who intend to participate in any training or other programme offering healthcare services, including consultation and surgery, would be provided a temporary registration certificate after their credentials are vetted by the state medical council.

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