Under directions from the Union government, the Medical Council of India (MCI) on Tuesday amended its regulations in postgraduate admissions and stated that only those candidates with a year of rural service will be eligible to join postgraduate courses. Steps will soon be taken in the state to implement these measures after examining these amendments, Medical Education Minister Sharanprakash Patil said.
“We have already made rural service compulsory in the State. After looking closely at the MCI’s amendments, we will see how they can be accommodated in the rules that we have already framed,” Patil said.
Welcoming the step, M Madan Gopal, Principal Secretary, Department of Health and Family Welfare, said that though it will provide temporary respite to the shortage, the real problem is the availability of specialist doctors in rural areas.
“We need another 1,200 specialist doctors. Meanwhile, we are bridging the gap with contract doctors and MBBS doctors deployed in district hospitals, first referral units and community health centres (CHC),” he added.
Dr Navneet Motreja, Coordinator, Save the Doctor campaign, said the rules do not make sense as the rural areas require specialist doctors and MBBS students cannot do much in preventing deaths. “The clause is being used to prevent doctors from pursuing higher studies. It will simply increase the burden on the healthcare system. The students must be made to serve in rural areas only after they complete PG course as it will be more beneficial for the people in rural areas as they can get specialty treatment,” he said.