Maharashtra Medical Council (MMC) Elections: An Opinion

Maharashtra Medical Council (MMC) Elections: An Opinion
© Dr. Rajas Deshpande
I can shut up. In that case please do not read this post.
Or I can open up my heart.

At the outset, I am not writing this for any panel.
Many panels have been formed. While the IMA panel has the “apolitical” background so essential for the medical fraternity, it has in the past given jitters to medical practitioners by making controversial statements to the media against its own members. It has the benefit of a history of impartial work for allopaths, but needs to reaffirm a stronger face and stand in favour of the practitioners rather than working for limelight.

While apolitical is the best choice, it also lacks the essential strength to garner the support of the lawmakers (read political will), hence the panels associated with political outfits have an advantage. But the same rule applies in the negative: that the chosen candidates from such panels will have a tough time standing against their own party should it try and implement some idiotic populist rules / laws. Only those candidates who have respect and backing of the strongmen in their supporting party will make a difference.

In a society with predominant negative opinion of the medical profession, and amidst media largely interested in finding trivial faults of the medical practitioners and blowing up tiny issues, the MMC members must stop making statements that tarnish the image of this troubled profession, and pretending “holier than thou” to others.
A unified effort to come out strongly to protect the allopaths from the assault of various political / social / federal forces which want to enslave this profession to be able to use it as a tool to impress the masses to hide their own inefficiency, by making populist statements and laws has become the need of the hour. Any candidate who stands for this is the right candidate we need in MMC.

While credit point system is an ultramodern and justified idea, its marriage to a slow and inadequate system / execution created the necessity to attend unnecessary CMEs, waste precious holidays and increase (hidden) dependence on the pharma sector for travel, food and stay. In the era of hi speed internet and satellite meetings, the very idea of physical presence away from the practicing hospital or home is ridiculous. This idea should have been implemented only when the MMC acquired ability to practically provide online relevant CMEs for every specialty. The whole process of thousands of doctors traveling out for conferences for which the patient ultimately pays does not really achieve the expected “learning” benefit. Think of the millions of doctor-hours and rupees wasted.

The general issues must be treated as primary points upon which each candidate must clarify his / her stand without ambiguity and party policy:
*Everyone (hospitals, quacks, alternative pathies and TDH) being allowed to advertise except the registered and qualified allopath,
*The non-accountability of medical ethics / practices at some hospitals, the exploitation and harassment of qualified doctors by some hospitals,
*The fake clinical trials, and PG diplomas/ degrees
*The open defamation or suspension-without-enquiry of any allopath against whom complaint is lodged by revengeful patients / relatives / politicos
*Fighting the unfair draconian clauses in the regulations like PCPNDT at all levels
*Provision of free legal backing to registered candidates
and filing defamation suits against false complainants against medical professionals
*Fighting for the autonomy of the National Medical Commission and its governance by Medical specialists and Judges only, without political interference / controls.

The contesting candidates must also comment about the specialty specific issues like those of Pathologists, Radiologists, OBGYN, Intensivists etc.
Human rights regulations about working hours of doctors including residents, PGs should be defined and implemented by the MMC, this alone can encourage the govt to fill up empty posts at medical colleges and hospitals, and to stop overuse of existing staff.

Renewal of Medical teachers’ and Medical Officers’ registrations should be automatic: teaching should get credit points, and so should working in rural areas.
My appeal will be to vote for individuals rather than panels. We must choose candidates who have done significant constructive work for the fraternity. Many of my dear friends are contesting this election from different panels, and I know candidates from every panel who have spent years adding to the grace of our profession, fighting for its dignity.

The last thing medical professionals can afford at this moment is a fraternity divided further. Let the differences among the panels NOT be the cause of differences within the fraternity.

Dr. Pradeep Benjarge is the only one name I will mention in this post, because he is an independent candidate, we have all witnessed his relentless struggle over a decade to fight injustice against medical professionals and hospitals. I have reserved one vote for him.

There are some candidates who have worked hard over past many years to safeguard the interest and image of medical profession. Their work will of course reward them. There are some newcomers who want to change the existing uncertainty and insecurity among the allopaths. My sincere best wishes to them too.

One request: whichever panel they contest from, the candidates must work together for the fraternity rather than carrying the “panel title” to the MMC. We need strong fighters who will unite like soldiers of different religions, to protect the nobility of their profession. Doctors can be excellent politicians (and devastating often), but this ground is not for the show of might.

MMC should be a round table of scientific minded intellectuals with strong integrity.

My best wishes to every candidate! May the best men and women win to the “MMC Panel”.
© Dr. Rajas Deshpande
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