The Indian Medical Association has expressed concern over the move to declare 4,500 doctors, who have failed to do rural service, as quacks. At a press conference Saturday, Dr Prakash Marathe, president, Pune unit of IMA, asked why only doctors were being subjected to compulsory rural service, failing which their registrations were not renewed.
“We have only 10-15 medical colleges in each state, whereas the government has increased the number of IITs from 5 to 15 few years ago. This indicates that the government spends a huge amount on IITs, but then why are those students not prevented from going abroad? Even if they provide their service for improving road conditions in the country, we will be better off. Asking only medical students to sign the bond is discriminatory under the Constitution,” he said.
Marathe said there were vacancies in the health department, which the government was not filling. Some vacancies were filled by Ayurvedic graduates, who have no bonds, he said, adding there was no sufficient infrastructure for highly qualified doctors to work in civil hospitals. “The decision to debar them from NEET examination is wrong as seats in Maharashtra will be filled by students from other states, and Maharashtra students will be left with only a few seats…,” Marathe said.
The medical students are likely to lose a year as those who took admission in medical college in 2011-12-13 are now eligible for post-graduation in 2018. “They have put in efforts for the examination and suddenly they are told that due to the bond, they can’t appear for the examination,” he said. Marathe said that DMER Director Dr Praveen Shingare has also spoken in favour of the students.
“We feel that because of compulsion of taking admission to a medical college through NEET, some private medical colleges are feeling the heat due to fewer admissions, hence students are being threatened by citing clauses in the bond,” Marathe said.
Speaking on the problems faced by resident doctors, Marathe said initially, the government had agreed to provide security to resident doctors and had provided the same. “The initial security appears to have reduced now, as only 60 per cent of the guards are at work. Is it right on part of the government to do so… who will be responsible if resident doctors again face violence,” he asked.
The conference also saw discussions on the working hours of resident doctors. While the Supreme Court had stated that resident doctors should work for a maximum 48 hours per week, in reality, they are forced to clock in 96 hours a week, Marathe said.
“It is necessary to alleviate the pressure on resident doctors. In this regard, IMA would like to request the government to reduce duty hours of residents to 48 hrs per week, i.e. 12 hours on emergency day and 6 hours for week days. Medical colleges should prepare a time table accordingly and ask the professors to implement duty hours,” he said. Dr Jayant Navrange, head of medicolegal cell, IMA, and Dr Rajeev Joshi, member of IMA, were also present during the conference.
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