Indian Medical Service on its way?

April 10, 2021 0 By FM

The long-pending demand for Indian Medical Services (IMS) along the lines of all India civil services such as IAS and IPS has received a major boost with a parliamentary committee recently recommending the formation of the same. The recommendation was made by the Parliamentary Committee headed by Rajya Sabha member Ram Gopal Verma.

Recognizing the role of corona warriors in controlling COVID-19, the parliamentary panel in its report stated that it is a golden opportunity to explore the possibility of setting up Indian Medical Services. The committee added that IMS would provide efficient healthcare managers to enhance the success rate of healthcare projects and make policy programmes and specific courses of action for fighting against lethal disease. The committee also stated that the basic qualification to sit for the IMS examination should be MBBS.

The Indian Medical Association (IMA) and the Federation of Resident Doctors Association (FORDA) have been demanding the formation of IMS for quite some time. They had raised the demand again in the wake of the outbreak of COVID-19. Calling for the formation of IMS last year, Dr Rajan Sharma, then national president of IMA, had said that IMS will be responsible for holding the administrative responsibilities pertaining to the district medical officer, project officers of various disease control programmes, and various ranks of secretaries in the union health ministry and the state health departments and the heads all other areas in the health sector.

A positive outcome of the pandemic: IMA

In a letter written to the Prime Minister, FORDA had also demanded a separate cadre for healthcare professionals in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak and the stress the pandemic caused on the healthcare sector. The association pointed out COVID-19 has emphasised the need for improving healthcare infrastructure in the nation, beginning from the grassroots, and the formation of IMS has become more relevant during the period.

Welcoming the move, IMA stated that it is an important decision, which will have lasting positive effects on the development and progress of the country’s healthcare. “IMS can well be defined as a positive yield of the dreaded pandemic in the real sense,” stated the body. IMA said that it is a matter of pride for the association because a study group was constituted by the then President of the Medical Council of India under the chairmanship of Dr Vedprakash Mishra, then Chairman of the Academic Council of the Medical Council of India, to make analytical recommendations with respect to the rejuvenation of Indian Medical Services as a result of the initiatives taken by IMA. The detailed report of the study group thereto was forwarded to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

“While the healthcare system has been going through [a] tragic mode as far as supportive progress is concerned, the long-standing tragic anomaly with the latest dreaded pandemic on its own turns out to be a huge and sufficient indicator and also an eye-opener for all the powers to realize that a separate administrative cadre is a must for administering and managing the healthcare services, including public health, in the country, so as to meaningfully invoke a purposive, balanced, updated and an optimally functioning healthcare delivery system capable of delivering the targeted services enriched by quality conforming to the trinity of the core principles of accessibility, availability and affordability in unison,” stated IMA.

‘Will improve healthcare management’

Meanwhile, FORDA stated it is looking forward to the formation of the new service. Dr Sunil Arora, General Secretary, FORDA, said, “At least the parliamentary committee believes that specialists should run healthcare. A non-medico rarely gets things properly. But the medicos know how to manage things in the healthcare sector. As the non-medicos don’t have any knowledge on how a hospital works, we have to update them on each and everything. If IMS comes into existence, it will help in managing healthcare in a better way and resolve issues quickly.”

IMA observed that IMS will provide the healthcare sector of the country due attention and much-awaited and deserving space with much-needed professionalism in healthcare policy-making and the implementation of programmes. “It would serve as a strong catalytic agent for the realization of the core guarantee of the right to health for all citizens guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India and also the universal goal of equitable and affordable healthcare,” said Dr Jayesh Lele, Secretary-General, IMA.