How NMC came to the rescue of PG doctors being denied stipend
New Delhi: In a decision that is being hailed by the PG resident doctors, the National Medical Commission (NMC) has provided relief to many medicos who were facing exploitation by institutions that were holding their documents despite the completion of three-year residency and also were not paying them their due stipend.
In its recent advisory, the NMC has clearly mandated that not paying a stipend to the residents for their service and refusing to relieve them by holding their documents after completion of their tenure are "Illegal".
The issue has its roots in the second wave of the COVID pandemic when the PG resident doctors and Final year DNB trainees had to face an extension of their services. However, soon after the students started complaining of not getting stipend or not being promoted even after completion of their tenures. Some of the institutes were alleged for holding the documents of the students and refusing to relieve them as well.
This led to severe complaints from doctors who alleged cheating and exploitation on behalf of the institutions. Then several representations were sent to both NMC and the National Board of Examination (NBE).
Doctors under the umbrella of the Federation of Resident Doctors Association (FORDA) also met Dr M. K. Ramesh, the President of the PG Medical Education Board of NMC requesting NMC's intervention.
Acting promptly on the matter, the NMC soon issued an advisory to the medical colleges, the advisory further added:
1. Wherever the examinations are not yet over, the Postgraduate students should be paid the stipend till their services are availed.
2. Wherever the examinations have been held and the results are declared, the successful MD/MS and DM/M.Ch candidates shall be designated as Senior Residents and Assistant Professors, respectively, and be paid accordingly.
3. If the Institutes do not want their services, they should be relieved and all their documents should be returned.
With this, the NMC put an end to all the confusion surrounding the pg doctors training tenure. the decision of NMC was also followed by NBE directing all its institutes to re-designate Final year DNBs as Senior Resident along with a stipend, for the period of extension of training which is beyond their scheduled date of training completion and three months of mandatory extension.
In case, the institutes do not wish to avail the services of such medicos, the advisories instructed them to release the medicos at the earliest along with their original documents. With the release of advisories, the doctors were seen thanking the NMC and be for taking action.
Speaking to Medical Dialogues, Dr Ramesh explained that with the advisory, the students have been provided with their rights.
"The exams had to be postponed indefinitely due to the Covid-19 pandemic. As the NEET-PG exam was also postponed for four months, there was no way a fresh batch could join. As Junior doctors are the backbone of any hospital if these doctors were to be released the big question was who was to work in these hospitals? So, we had issued an advisory where the institutes were given a chance to continue utilizing the services of these doctors till the fresh batch arrives and continue paying these students with stipends and provide them with hostel accommodation," Dr Ramesh told the Medical Dialogues team.
"However, after the exams were over, I received complaints that some institutes, not all, were misinterpreting it as they were utilizing the services of these doctors without paying them. Besides, once these doctors pass the examinations, the MD/MS students should be designated as senior residents and the DM/Mch students should be promoted as Assistant Professors. So, we have issued an advisory in this regard and it has been clarified that the students should be paid accordingly," he added.
Further mentioning that now the institutes would be providing them with their due stipend and also release their documents, Dr Ramesh added, "Now, the students have been given their rights."
Doctors express Gratitude
Now, doctors have expressed gratitude towards NMC and NBE for the recent advisories.
Dr. Kulsaurabh, General Secretary of FORDA told Medical Dialogues, "Previously, the hurdle was the pending examinations of the resident doctors. However, as soon as exams were conducted, the problems were solved and when we approached the NMC and NBEMS regarding the issues, take took care of things immediately and issued the advisories."
"We are especially thankful to Dr. M. K. Ramesh, the President of the PG Medical Education Board of NMC. He was very understanding and he took the necessary measures to solve the problems the students were facing. Also, Dr. Pawanindra Lal, Executive Director of NBEMS was very helpful for solving the issues of DNB trainees and took the right call," he added.