The National Medical Commission (NMC) has notified the National Medical Commission Registered Medical Practitioner (Professional Conduct) Regulations, 2023. These Regulations have come into force on 3rd August, 2023. The regulations focus on various aspects of a doctor’s responsibilities, including prescribing practices, professional qualifications, remuneration, and maintaining patient records.
Highlights of the NMC Conduct Regulations:
- Duties and Responsibilities: The regulations emphasize that at the time of applying for registration under the National Medical Commission (NMC) Act, Registered Medica Practitioners (RMPs) are deemed to have read and agreed to abide by these conduct regulations.
- Suffixes and Modern Medicine: RMPs are required to display their unique registration ID assigned by the Ethics and Medical Registration Board (EMRB) on prescriptions, certificates, and receipts provided to patients. The suffix to a doctor’s name must only reflect NMC-recognized and accredited medical degrees or diplomas. Foreign-trained RMPs must use NMC-approved prefixes and suffixes to clarify their qualifications.
- Specialization and Training: RMPs are prohibited from claiming to be clinical specialists unless they possess NMC-recognized training and qualifications in the respective branch of modern medicine. The list of recognized degrees and diplomas will be available on the NMC website.
- Scope of Practice: RMPs are required to practice only the system of medicine for which they are trained and certified. They are also prohibited from collaborating with unqualified individuals for medical treatments or procedures.
- Professional Development and Licensing: To ensure continued competence, RMPs are mandated to attend regular professional development programs, totaling at least 30 credit hours every five years. License renewal is required every five years, and RMPs must pay the necessary fee to practice in specific states.
- Remuneration and Patient Information: RMPs must inform patients about consultation fees before providing examination or treatment. They should also provide patients with an estimate of surgical or treatment costs, enabling informed decisions. RMPs can refuse treatment if fees are not paid, except in government service or emergencies.
- Patient Solicitation Prohibited: RMPs are forbidden from directly or indirectly soliciting patients, whether individually or as part of groups, institutions, or organizations.
- Prescription Guidelines: RMPs must prescribe drugs using generic names and avoid unnecessary medications or irrational drug combinations. They are allowed to sell medication only to their own patients and not run an open shop to sell medicines prescribed by other RMPs.
- Medical Records: RMPs must maintain patient medical records for three years, using a standard format provided by the NMC. Medical records should be digitized within three years, adhering to privacy laws.
These new regulations mark a significant step towards enhancing the accountability, transparency, and ethical standards within the medical profession. The Indian medical community awaits the positive impacts these regulations are expected to bring to the healthcare sector.