Lateral thinking: Niti Ayog to explore dentists taking up family medicine

Niti Ayog will be holding a meeting on 22nd April 2019 at 10 am with Secretary Dental Council of India and DG dental services armed forces to explore leveraging dentists to provide primary health care thereby reducing the gaps in the current shortfall of doctors in the country.

The meeting is based on the minutes of the meeting held at PM office on 9th April 2019 regarding scaling up of medical education in India when it was decided to explore the option of allowing dentists to practice family medicine/mainstream medicine following a bridge course.

This matter has been under discussion for a few years now. Government has taken the view of MCI also in this case. Things are to be seen are whether the discussion is unilateral or bilateral; means whether the discussion will also hold true for MBBS doctors starting dentistry practice with a bridge course after MBBS.

It is difficult to understand why in India we have multiple systems of medicine. Why can’t one think of all medical colleges seats to be converted into basic 3-4 years MBBS course and then later dentistry, Acupuncture, AYUSH etc. can be incorporated under mainstream specialization categories?

The previous Medical Council of India (MCI) has opposed this. The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has also been opposing this on the grounds that the MCI Act does not approve of the same.

While doing BDS, dentists are never exposed to hospitals; there are no clinical postings for students of dentistry as for the MBBS students. A dental chair is all they need.

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