Consider Extended Tenure Post-Exam as Senior Residency: Doctors to Union Health Ministry
New Delhi: Pointing that that the Post-graduate medical exams are over at most of the institutes, doctors' associations including FORDA and FAIMA have written to the Union Health Ministry requesting to consider the additional time period served by the PG resident doctors as senior residency.
In their letters directed to the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare authorities, the doctors have mentioned that not granting these PG resident doctors would result in a great academic loss in terms of work experience and might hamper their professional growth.
Besides, FAIMA has also pointed out in its letter directed to the Union Health Minister Shri Mansukh Mandaviya that the Covid-19 caseloads have reduced to a significant amount for the past couple of weeks. Therefore, considering the situation, the doctors should now be allowed to take paid leaves.
Medical Dialogues had earlier reported that the apex medical education regulatory body, National Medical Commission (NMC) had issued an advisory asking all the PG medical students to continue their services as resident doctors until a fresh batch of MBBS graduates join to serve. This decision had been taken to ensure that there would not be any shortage of Residents to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. Similar directions were issued by the Prime Minister as well when his office announced about the postponement of the NEET-PG exam and suggested utilizing the serve of the PG residents.
Several doctors had later approached the Supreme Court as well asking for an exam waiver and granting additional period served by them as senior residency. However, dismissing such pleas the Court had earlier made its stand clear that "There can be no question of this Court passing any order directing the Respondent authorities to waive examination or to promote and/or upgrade the doctors as Senior Residents or to the Post Doctoral level without clearing the final post graduate examination."
However, in the last few weeks, several universities and medical institutes have conducted the pending Post-graduate medical exams and as the NEET-PG is scheduled to take place in September, the counseling process would take some more time resulting in further delay of students joining the PG medical courses.
Considering the situation, the Federation of Resident Doctors' Association (FORDA) recently wrote to the Directorate General of Health Sciences (DGHS) on July 26, pointing out that the PG residents of 2018 Batch are serving "compulsory indefinite extension as academic Junior Residents" despite clearing their final MD/MS exit examinations.
"This is causing a great academic loss in terms of work experience for these resident doctors as Senior Residents along with monetary remuneration paid leave as per rules," further stated the letter.
Speaking to Medical Dialogues, Dr. Manish, the President of FORDA said, "The exams are already over. In fact, the result might be declared within a few days as well. These PG resident doctors have already completed their tenure in April and till now there is no clarity on the fact that for how long they need to serve."
"After the conduction of NEET-PG examination in September, it will take around one month more for the completion of the counseling process. So, till then the fresh batches won't be able to join. Considering the situation, we want that their extended period of service post-examination should be considered as senior residency as without such directions, the academic experience of these doctors would be delayed."
The Federation of All India Medical Association (FAIMA) also raised the issue before the Union Health Ministry and wrote to the Health Minister Shri Mansukh Mandaviya regarding the issue. Stating that the postponement of the NEET-PG examination has resulted in the continuation of service of the PG residents even after the completion of their tenure, FAIMA mentioned in the letter, "Few institutes have made it compulsory for their JRs to continue post-exams which hampers their ability to apply for Senior Residency despite being eligible for the same. This is leading significant mental trauma to our doctors."
"There is a fixed duration of Senior Residency experience which is required to apply for a Faculty or Assistant professor post in any medical college," FAIMA further reminded in the letter dated 27.07.2021.
Besides, the letter also pointed out that considering the decrease in the number of Covid-19 cases in the country, the doctors should now be able to avail their eligible paid leaves. Stating that leaves are necessary to catch up on lost sleep, FAIMA further stated in the letter, "We have not asked for leaves when workload is at peak, but we feel that it is absolutely unfair to disallow normal leaves when the caseload does not demand such harsh measures against doctors."
While commenting on the matter, Dr. Manish Jangra Founding Chairman, FAIMA said, "The extra time served after the exams must be considered as Senior Residency and the doctors must also be paid an equal salary to SRs."
Further, referring to the matter of paid leaves Dr. Jangra added, "Corona Warriors have done so much for the country and now the Government is imposing so strict rules regarding the leaves as well. Considering the decrease in the COVID-19 caseload they should be allowed to take paid leaves."