Doctors and their families must not receive any gifts, travel facilities, hospitality, cash or access to recreation from pharma companies or their representatives, commercial healthcare establishments and medical device firms under any pretext, the NMC has said in its new regulations.
The 'Regulations relating to Professional Conduct of Registered Medical Practitioners", issued on August 2, also bar doctors from endorsing any drug brands, medicine and equipment or advertise them. According to the regulations, any request for medical records to a registered medical practitioner (RMP) responsible for patient records in a hospital either by the patients or authorised attendant has to be duly acknowledged and documents have to be supplied within five working days instead of the existing provision of 72 days.
In case of medical emergencies, efforts should be made to make the medical records available at the earliest.
Efforts shall be made to computerise patient's medical records for quick retrieval and security. Within three years from the date of publication of these regulations, the registered medical practitioner shall ensure fully digitized records, abiding by the provisions of the IT Act, data protection and privacy laws, or any other applicable laws, rules, and regulations notified from time to time for protecting the privacy of the patient, the regulations stated.
Every self-employed registered medical practitioner shall maintain medical records of patients (inpatients) for 3 years from the date of the last contact with the patient for treatment, in a standard proforma laid down by the NMC.
As per the regulations issued by NMC in a gazette notification, a registered medical practitioner should attend continuing professional development programs regularly each year, totalling at least 30 credit hours every five years.
Only recognised medical colleges and health institutions or medical societies accredited or authorised by EMRB/state medical councils can offer trainings and credit hours for this purpose. Credit hours awarded shall be updated online against the unique registration number of registered medical practitioner on the EMRB-NMC website.
According to the regulations, "RMPs and their families must not receive any gifts, travel facilities, hospitality, cash or monetary grants, consultancy fee or honorariums, or access to entertainment or recreation from pharmaceutical companies or their representatives, commercial healthcare establishments, medical device companies, or corporate hospitals under any pretext." However, this does not include salaries and benefits that registered medical practitioners may receive as employees of these organisations, the regulations stated.
Also, registered medical practitioners should not be involved in any third-party educational activity like CPD, seminar, workshop, symposia, conference, etc., which involves direct or indirect sponsorships from pharmaceutical companies or the allied health sector. "RMP individually or as part of an organization/association shall not give to any person or to any companies or to any products or to software/platforms, whether for compensation or otherwise, any approval, recommendation, endorsement... concerning any drug brand, medicine, nostrum remedy, surgical, or therapeutic article, apparatus or appliance or any commercial product or article with respect of any property, quality or use thereof or any test, demonstration or trial thereof, for use in connection with his name, signature, or photograph in any form or manner of advertising through any mode nor shall he boast of cases, operations, cures or remedies..." the regulations said.
The registered medical practitioner who attends to the patient will be fully accountable for his actions and entitled to the appropriate fees.
"In case of abusive, unruly, and violent patients or relatives, the registered medical practitioner can document and report the behaviour and refuse to treat the patient. Such patients should be referred for further treatment elsewhere," the regulations said.
The NMC also specified that use of alcohol or other intoxicants during duty or off duty which can affect professional practice will be considered as misconduct.
Also, for the first time, the term emergency has been defined as 'life and limb saving procedure. Previously, the term emergency was not clearly defined.
The registered medical practitioner shall display as suffix to his/her name only NMC recognised and accredited medical degrees/diplomas as provided in the nomenclature of the regulations and listed on the NMC website. List of such degrees and diplomas will be on the website and updated regularly.
The registered medical practitioners qualified abroad and seeking registration to practice after clearing FMGE/NEXT must use NMC-approved equivalent medical prefixes and suffixes to provide clarity to patients and the public at large.
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