‘Govt should bring replacement bill soon’

Kathmandu, April 4

The government will have to bring a replacement bill to bring into effect the National Medical Education Ordinance 2074. If the government fails to bring the replacement bill, then the medical ordinance will become null and void.

As per the constitution, the bill should be endorsed by both the houses of the Parliament. If the joint meeting of the Parliament passes the replacement bill, then it will take the form of a law.

“If the government fails to bring a replacement bill there will be a legal vacuum as earlier provisions, rules and regulations regarding medical education have already become null and void,” said advocate Om Prakash Aryal.

“The medical ordinance can’t be immediately altered. Therefore, the government will have to bring and pass a replacement bill to implement the ordinance as a law,” said Aryal, adding,

“However, if the government fails to pass the replacement bill within the given stipulated time, then a new ordinance has to be issued.”

The medical education ordinance was passed by the Parliament yesterday. The ordinance is in accordance with the agreement reached between the government and Dr Govinda KC, senior orthopaedic surgeon at Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital.

“The replacement bill will be welcomed only if it is passed on the basis of recommendations offered by the Mathema-led panel and as per the National Medical Education Ordinance. If there are unnecessary changes in the ordinance then it will not be accepted,” said Dr Jeevan Kshetri, one of members of Dr KC’s team.

President Bidhya Devi Bhandari had authenticated the National Medical Education Ordinance as per Article 114 of the constitution on November 10, 2o17. The then Cabinet had endorsed the ordinance on medical education and forwarded it to the president for authentication on October 23.

The ordinance bars opening of new medical colleges in Kathmandu Valley for the next 10 years. It also bars running of dental and nursing programmes in the valley for the next ten years. It also states that a hospital has to run for at least three years to be eligible for affiliation to run a medical college. There should at least be 300 beds run fully for the medical college and 100 beds each should be run to be eligible for affiliation of nursing and dental programmes.

As per the ordinance, a university will not be allowed to grant affiliation to more than five medical colleges. Likewise, affiliation cannot be granted to more than one medical college in the same district and 75 per cent of the seats in government medical colleges should be allocated for scholarships. There will be a single entrance examination throughout the country for all students seeking to pursue medicine.

A Medical Education Committee, which will have the power to cancel affiliation granted to medical colleges, will also be formed. The committee will be the regulatory body for making the medical education qualitative. It can also establish its branch offices in other provinces as per the need. To make guidelines and policies for common entrance examination, make policies for academic prosperity and research, letter of intent and affiliation will now be decided by the committee.

The draft ordinance was finalised by the government’s talks team comprising former health minister Gagan Thapa and advocate Om Prakash Aryal, and Dr KC’s team. Dr KC had staged hunger strikes, demanding an end to irregularities in the health and medical education sectors. He had demanded immediate passage of the National Medical Education Bill as per the recommendations made by the Mathema-led panel.