Activist cries foul as West Bengal relaxes norms for medical students from war-torn Ukraine 

The Mamata Banerjee-led government allowed 394 students who had been studying in medical colleges in Ukraine to undergo “observership” in private medical colleges in the state from June 1.

Published: 20th June 2022 05:31 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th June 2022 05:31 AM   |  A+A-

medicine, medical field, doctors

Representational Image. (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:  The West Bengal government’s decision to allow medical students who returned from Ukraine to continue studies by offering them ‘observership’ in colleges in the state has raised eyebrows as it would have far-reaching consequences in other states, including Kerala.

The Mamata Banerjee-led government allowed 394 students who had been studying in medical colleges in Ukraine to undergo “observership” in private medical colleges in the state from June 1. It would allow the students to attend practical classes and see patients, which a health activist said was illegal. Moreover, the state government took the decision before the National Medical Council, the regulatory body for medical education in the country, could frame a national-level policy as mandated by the Supreme Court. 

“The observership arrangement is illegal and can set bad precedent. The students might not be treating the patients. However, a situation where students who have no legal mandate will be able to see patients is a violation of the system. It will compromise patients’ rights,” said health activist Dr Babu K V. He demanded the intervention of the NMC, saying it should cancel the registrations of medical colleges that allow observership to foreign medical graduates. 

NMC had responded to Babu’s RTI query saying the issue concerning foreign medical graduates was under its consideration as per the apex court’s orders. A copy of the communication between NMC and the West Bengal government in March was also accessed by Babu. 

In it, the state government had urged the NMC to accommodate the returning students for ensuring continuation of their education. “However, the government, while acknowledging the NMC’s role, jumped the gun and took a unilateral decision,” he said.



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