Should Ayurvedic Physicians be Conducting Surgeries? | UPSC
Ayurvedic doctors and sanction for surgeries
WHY IN NEWS:
What are the issues around allowing non-allopathic surgeons to receive training for various procedures?
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: Medicine
For PRELIMS go through the types of surgeries in AYURVEDIC System of medicines.
For MAINS it is important to understand the bills and relevant acts. Let us dive in !
- The Central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM) , a statutory body set up under the AYUSH Ministry to regulate Indian systems of medicine.
- It issued a gazette notification allowing postgraduate (PG) Ayurvedic practitioners to receive formal training .
- The training will be for a variety of general surgery, ENT, ophthalmology and dental procedures.
- This will allow PG students of Ayurveda to practise general surgery.
- The National Medical Commission Act in 2019 allowed induction of mid-level care providers — Community Health Providers — in primary healthcare in India.
- Community Health Providers would serve at health and wellness centres across the country.
- The focus was on primary healthcare provision, with a limited range of medicines allowed for them to use for treatment of patients.
- Several countries have been using mid-level care providers, such as nurse practitioners.
- The current debate revolves around the CCIM issuing amendments to the Indian Medicine Central Council Regulations, 2016.
WHAT IS THE AMENDMENT?
The amendment allows PG students in Ayurveda to undergoing :
(i) ‘Shalya’ (general surgery) and
(ii) ‘Shalakya’ (dealing with eye, ear, nose, throat, head and neck, oro-dentistry) to perform 58 specified surgical procedures.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
- This was immediately opposed by many allopathic professionals.
- The AYUSH Ministry subsequently clarified that the ‘Shalya’ and ‘Shalakya’ postgraduates were already learning these procedures.
- The procedures in their (surgical) departments in Ayurvedic medical colleges as per their training curriculum.
- The amendment merely added clarity and definitions to the 2016 regulations concerning post-graduate Ayurveda education.
CAN SHORT-TERM TRAINING EQUIP THEM TO CONDUCT SURGERIES?
- Whether the surgeries conducted in Ayurvedic medical colleges and hospitals have the same standards.
- The outcomes as allopathic institutions requires explication and detailed formal enquiry, in the interest of patient safety.
- As of now, no such restriction exists that limits non-allopathic doctors, including those doing Ayurvedic surgical post graduation, to rural areas.
- [wc_highlight color=”yellow” class=””]ALSO READ : AYURVEDA VS MODERN MEDICINES [/wc_highlight]
ALLOPATHIC SURGEONS IN RURAL AREAS
- The shortage and unwillingness of allopathic doctors, including surgeons, to serve in rural areas is now a chronic issue.
- The government has tried to address this by mechanisms such as rural bonds, a quota for those who have served in rural service in postgraduate seats.
- More recently, there was a plan to work on increasing the number of medical colleges and postgraduate seats.
- However, we would probably still continue to fall short of enough trained specialists in rural areas.
- We need to explore creative ways of addressing this gap by evidence-based approaches.
- The advent of Community Health Providers in many States, is also an opportunity to improve some elements of healthcare (preventive, promotive, and limited curative).
- This will also ensure clarity of role and career progression.
PATIENT’S SAFETY AND ETHICS
- The AYUSH streams are recognised systems of medicine, and as such are allowed to independently practise medicine.
- They have medical colleges with both undergraduate and postgraduate training, which include surgical disciplines for some systems, such as Ayurveda.
- There is, however, a difference in approach in the systems of medicine, and hence models, which allow for cross-pathy.
- It might require re-training Ayurvedic practitioners in the science of surgical approaches in modern medicine.
- Even then, there might be a limit to what they are allowed to do.
- Any such experiment can put patient safety in peril, and hence, will need careful oversight and evaluation.
CAN THIS LEAD TO SUBSTANDARD CARE?
- Many patients prefer to receive treatment exclusively from AYUSH providers.
- While some approach this form of treatment as a complement to the existing allopathic treatment they are receiving.
- Patients have a right to know and understand who their surgeon would be, what system of medicine they belong to, and their expertise and level of training.
There should not be a difference in quality of care between urban and rural patients.Everyone deserves a right to quality and evidence-based care from trained professionals.
SOURCES: THE HINDU | Should Ayurvedic Physicians be Conducting Surgeries? | UPSC