THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The focus of medical college hospitals on Covid, compromising on the treatment of other ailments, is likely to lower the quality of medical education in the state, feel medical experts. According to them, the students have been denied hands-on experience in dealing with other diseases and, as a result, the postgraduate medical education has suffered the most.
While the experts agreed that the pandemic situation warranted the expert treatment available at medical college hospitals (MCHs), they were against the dilution of the tertiary care system from its intended purpose. “The focus on Covid has damaged medical education in the state. If the government does not make urgent changes, the next generation of doctors will be knowing only about Covid,” said Kerala Government Medical College Teachers’ Association (KGMCTA) president Binoy S.
All medical colleges have shifted attention to Covid treatment from the first wave. As a result, elective surgeries have either stopped or been limited. The three-year postgraduate education that depends heavily on learning by doing suffered the most. The junior resident doctors are mostly deployed for Covid duty. But they complained of work not beneficial to their career.
“The hospitals continue to run outpatient clinics for non-serious cases coming from the periphery. The government should have strengthened the health centres in peripheral areas and spared the MCHs to deal with tertiary care. The undue focus on Covid is not beneficial for further studies and in monetary terms,” said Dr Abel Jaison, former state secretary of Kerala Medical Post Graduate Association. He recently completed the course and is waiting for his senior residency.
The health experts have acknowledged the dependency on MCHs as a pan-India phenomenon during Covid. They also suggested government intervention to make up for the loss suffered by the students. “The medical college hospitals should be relieved of the dedicated Covid hospital category and assign the same to hospitals under the directorate of health services. The senior and junior residents should be given exposure in non-Covid care for their remaining term. Then only we will get competent doctors,” said Dr Althaf A, an epidemiologist and associate professor at Government Medical College Hospital, Manjeri.