The government said on Friday that expert medical bodies would be involved in designing the new medical curriculum to integrate modern system with Indian systems of medicine, but the medical fraternity criticised the integration proposal, saying it would 'promote quackery'.
Changes would be made by a committee comprising experts, including Medical Council of India and Dental Council experts and vice chancellors. The entire process would take about two years, Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss told reporters.
He said the move was in line with the country's health policy, which suggests integration of ISM with modern medicine. But the Indian Medical Association said integration means providing health care involving all the systems of medicine at
health-care centres. It does not mean making one individual expert of all systems of medicine.
Rather than toying with the current curriculum, which had led to India producing world-class doctors, the government should create posts of ISM doctors in primary health centres, Vinay Agarwal, IMA's Secretary General said.
ISM doctors should also be employed in big hospitals and a board involving experts from all systems could be set up in them to decide treatment strategy for chronic patients, he said.
"The idea of adding ayurveda, unani and homoeopathy subjects in the already over-crowded medical curriculum is not going to help anybody," Agarwal said.
"The move would also lead to an increase in quackery," he said adding it will not only 'dilute' the standards of medical education but also 'weaken' ISM because these systems will become subsidiaries to the main allopathic system.
"Moreover, the Supreme Court and various other courts of the country have repeatedly opined that one doctor of one pathy (system) can not practice another pathy," Agarwal said.
Claiming that it was 'impossible' for a doctor to become an expert of all available systems of medicine, the IMA said the government should concentrate more and more on strengthening research and development in these systems.
The association countered the health minister's claim that the medical curriculum was age-old, saying it had been changed several times while the new changes to further bring medical education on par with the international levels have been recommended by the Medical Council of India.
However, the ministry had not taken any decision on the proposed changes for the past 16 months, he said. The minister said there was a need to change the medical curriculum as new diseases, treatment technologies and issues were continuously coming up.
The new curriculum would have ISM as a component, he said.