NEW DELHI: As one of the first major steps to "reform" medical education in the country after the Medical Council of India was disbanded few days back, a committee that has replaced it, is set to recognise fellowship provided by specialty medical associations and will allow those getting them as semi-specialty doctors.
Officials in the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry said that in a meeting held some time back it was decided that immediate steps be taken to address the shortage of speciality doctors in the country.
"Many association of doctors such as Cardiology Society of India and Federation of Obstetrician and Gynaecologists Societies of India offer fellowship programmes but they have limited or no value," a senior Ministry official said.
"We are of the view that if an MBBS trains under a super-specialist for three-four years rigorously, that training should be regarded as semi-speciality," the official said. "This will at least address the issue of shortage of expert doctors for the time being till more PG seats are available."
Another official in the medical education department said the committee under Niti Aayog member (health) V K Paul that was constituted recently to replace the MCI will be asked to form a proper structure of these fellowship programmes.
"At the end of the programmes there can be an exit test which will validate the training, experience and learning of the doctors," he added.
The move comes after the Health Ministry recently asked the College of Physicians and Surgeons (CPS), Mumbai and the National Board of Examinations that awards DNB, to ensure 10,000 specialists each every year.
Making changes in the Indian Medical Council Act 1956, the Health Ministry in December last year had notified that all the diploma courses, conducted by the CPS will be considered as a recognised qualification retrospectively from 2009.
Sources in the health ministry said that these decisions were intended to make up for the huge shortfall of specialists particularly gynecologist, surgeons, pediatrician and anesthesiologists in the government hospitals as Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana that targets to provide Rs 5 lakh health insurance scheme to about 10 crore families has just been launched.