Health ministry's move draws ire from allopaths

The Union health and family welfare ministry’s proposal to allow doctors under the Indian system of medicine to practise modern medicine has come under attack from the allopathic doctors who termed the decision as “illegal” and “illogical”.

Dr Vishwas Mehta, the joint secretary in the Union ministry of health and family welfare had recently notified that all the state departments of health should amend the laws prevailing in their state to register ISM professionals in state medical registers.

Mehta had cited the shortage of allopathic doctors in primary healthcare centres (PHC) while making the recommendation. He had written that the department of AYUSH — that deals with the ISM — had taken an in-principal approval to empower ISM qualified doctors to practise allopathy in a limited way and constituted a committee to examine the issue.

However, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has lambasted the joint secretary saying the decision will amount to playing with the lives of people.

“It is not in the interest of the people and it is an absurd and mindless decision. How can someone who has no idea about modern medicines and never had the necessary education prescribe allopathic medicines? This will only encourage quackery,” said Dr Narendra Saini, honorary secretary general of IMA.

Mehta, in his letter, had said that the ministry had requested department of AYUSH “to get a draft curriculum prepared which would provide competency to an ISM professional” to practise allopathic medicine.

But IMA said the Medical Council of India (MCI) says an MBBS degree is a must to practise modern medicine.

“It is not a huge shortage and can be made up by some sensible recruitment. But there should be no compromise on the quality of health while providing the right for health,” said Saini.

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