The draft regulations also propose allowing medical practitioners to refuse treatment in case of abusive and violent patients or relatives.
The draft regulations have been put in the public domain by the NMC’s Ethics and Medical Registration Board (EMRB), inviting comments from the stakeholders by June 22.
“Only those RMPs who are registered under the NMC Act, 2019 can use Medical Doctor (Med Dr) as a prefix before their names. Every self-employed RMP shall display the unique registration ID assigned to him or her by the EMRB in his or her prescription, certificate and money receipts given to patients. Employed RMP shall get a seal made by the employer for displaying the unique registration number below the RMP’s signatures,” the draft regulations state.
According to the draft regulations, RMPs qualified abroad and seeking registration to practise after clearing FMGE or NEXT must use the NMC-approved equivalent medical prefixes and suffixes to provide clarity to patients and the public at large.
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“Another inclusion is that once licensed to practise modern medicine under the NMC Act, he or she shall not be able to practise another system of medicine simultaneously. A person qualified in more than one system of medicine should decide which system he wants to practise,” Dr Yogender Malik, EMRB member, said.
Short courses in other systems of medicine do not qualify a practitioner to practise and prescribe in that system of medicine.
“This regulation was included in view of complaints about doctors practising more than one stream of medicine,” Malik said.
The draft regulations also state that an RMP shall not claim to be a clinical specialist unless he has NMC-recognised training and qualification in that specific branch of modern medicine.
According to the draft regulations, a reasonable estimation of the cost of a surgery or treatment should be provided to the patients to enable an informed decision.
“An RMP can refuse to continue to treat a patient if the fees, as indicated, are not paid. This is a new addition. It does not apply to doctors in government service or emergencies and the draft regulations clarify that the doctor must ensure that the patient is not abandoned,” Malik said.
Also, for the first time, the term “emergency” has been defined as a “life-and-limb saving procedure”. Previously, the term was not clearly defined, Malik said.
“In case of an emergency (life-and-limb saving procedure), an RMP shall provide first aid and other services to the patient according to his expertise and the available resources before referral,” the draft regulations read.
If any request is made for medical records to an RMP responsible for patients’ records in a hospital or healthcare institution either by the patients or authorised attendants or legal authorities involved, the same may be duly acknowledged and the documents shall be supplied within five working days, instead of the previous 72 hours.
In case of medical emergencies, the medical records should be made available on the same day.
The draft regulations, for the first time, have enumerated the conduct of an RMP on social, electronic and print media and mentioned the guidelines that they have to follow, Malik said.
Also, earlier, most of the doctors used to practise on their own but now, they are working in government as well as corporate sector hospitals. So, for the first time, the draft regulations have defined the responsibilities of self-employed and employed RMPs, Malik added.
RMPs who wish to practise in another state (due to transfer of work or residence) should inform the State Medical Council and apply for a licence to practise in that state. The state will have to mandatorily provide a licence to practise, charging the appropriate fee, within seven days, the draft regulations state.
Within three years from the date of publication of these regulations, the RMP will have to fully digitise all records, abiding by the provisions of the Information Technology Act, data protection and privacy laws.