Decision to let Ayurveda physicians do surgeries draws flak; doctors urge caution

The decision of the Centre to allow Ayurveda practitioners to perform general surgery has come in for criticism.

In pursuance of this, the government has amended the Indian Medicine Central Council Regulations, 2016, to introduce formal training in certain surgical procedures for postgraduate students of Shalya (general surgery) and Shalakya (diseases of ear, nose, throat, ENT, eye, head, oro-dentistry) specialisations.

IMA Kerala chapter vice-president Dr. Sulfi Nuhu said the association took strong exception to this move. BAMS, the graduate-level Ayurveda course, taught nothing about surgery to students and a BAMS graduate is not equipped to perform surgeries on anyone, Dr. Nuhu said.

Moves to impart surgical training to Ayurveda graduates had been caught in legal tangles for the past 20-25 years even in a state like Kerala. As per the norms of the National Medical Commission, a person not adequately qualified should not be trained in surgery, he said. So, such people cannot be termed ‘specialists.’

Dr. Nuhu said the move was a violation of human rights and nothing short of ‘threat to life.’

He said doctors who had MBBS and specialisation were not authorised to do all surgeries. A lot of skill and training is required to perform surgeries. A person not trained in MBBS cannot be taught a higher level of medicine or surgery, he said.

The Centre was forced to take such a decision to probably meet the demand for doctors in places like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. In Kerala, the IMA will protest against any such move, Dr. Nuhu said.

The IMA office-bearer said this was an affront to public health and the health of an individual. This is something that would have a direct bearing on public health and the people should take this issue up. At the national level, the IMA already submitted a memorandum, he said adding there would be protests in Kerala too.

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