Backlash: Doctors launch Twitter Storm demanding IMS Cadre, Condemns Postponement of NEET PG
New Delhi: Addressing the need for a separate Indian Medical Services (IMS) for effective administration regarding the health care services, the Indian Medical Association Junior Doctor's Network (IMA JDN) has started a Twitter storm trending a hashtag #IndianMedicalServices. The Federation of All India Medical Association (FAIMA) has extended its support to the campaign.
IMA JDN, in a recent press release dated 05.05.2021, has also condemned several recent decisions taken by the Central Government including the postponement of NEET-PG 2021, the continuation of service for PG resident doctors, and employing final year MBBS students and interns for fighting the war against the pandemic.
"The Indian Medical Association Junior Doctor's Network (IMA JDN) is bringing forward the TWITTER STORM as a response to the injustice that has been happening to the fraternity amidst this terrible pandemic - COVID-19, currently in its second wave," mentioned the release.
On the need for a different IMS cadre, the release stated, "On behalf of Doctors all across our country, India, we humbly request the Government of India to make appropriate recommendations in regard to introducing Indian Medical Services. This is to generate necessary administrative cadre to effectively administer health care services including Public Health in a cogent, credible and meaningful way. This will sever the larger public interest in the national cause catering to the actualization of the core concept of "Welfare State" enshrined in the Constitution of India."
Medical Dialogues had earlier reported about the long-standing demand for setting up Indian Medical services previously expressed by the Resident Doctors Association (RDA) at the premier All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), the Federation of Resident Doctors Association (FORDA), and later the Indian Medical Association (IMA).
Moreover, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare, headed by Prof. Ram Gopal Yadav, in its 126th report on Demands for Grants 2021-22 had also expressed its views in favor of exploring the possibilities of setting up such exclusive Service aiming to bring a major change in the healthcare sector across the country.
"A separate administrative cadre is the core must for administering and managing the healthcare services including the public health in the country so as to meaningfully invoke a purposive, balanced, updated and optimally functioning healthcare system capable of delivering the targeted services enriched by quality conforming to the trinity of the core principles of "Accessibility, Availability and Affordability"," further mentioned the release.
Speaking to Medical Dialogues regarding the issue, the national secretary of IMA JDN National Council, Dr. Karan Juneja said, "Just like District magistrates taking care of the district administration, we should have a district medical officer to handle the health-related matter. The bureaucrats do not understand the necessities related to the healthcare services." He also mentioned that the proposal of a separate IMS cadre was always there.
Dr. Juneja also told the daily about the success of the Twitter storm adding that it started trending at the first position. "We are trending this hashtag so the Government gets to hear this and we get their attention."
In solidarity with the IMA, the FAIMA took to Twitter raising the similar demand for IMS.
When asked if IMA JDN would like to meet any higher authorities regarding the issue, Dr. Juneja said, "We are eager to meet them regarding the matter."
The IMA JDN has also condemned the recent decision by the Central Government to postpone the NEET-PG 2021. Medical Dialogues had recently reported that in a major slew of announcements, the Prime Minister's Office has announced its decision to postpone NEET-PG for at least 4 months and utilize the services of fresh pass-outs for COVID duties.
Condemning this decision the Government, the IMA JDN release stated, "The medical students (post intems) have already been working hard and under incredible stress during the past year in their journey of entrance exam preparation. The delay in conducting NEET PG 2021 has already happened twice. Scarcity of competent doctors is the direct consequence of this decision. The exam can be conducted across various centres by adhering to Standard Operating Protocols (SOPs) while maintaining the safety and security of all students and examiners."
The release also addressed the government's decision to continue utilizing the services of the Final year PG residents until fresh students have joined. Addressing the issue, the release mentioned, "Rather than relying on cheap labour by unceremoniously making Final Year Postgraduates (3rd year MD/MS, DNB PGs) for another 4 months, it would be pertinent to provide them the pay scale of Senior Resident and give priority passing scores in their Final Year Passing as they have already contributed towards COVID-19 duty in their respective hospitals. This has not only affected their studies but there has been a lack of exposure to cases related to their specialisation."
Commenting on the issue, Dr. Juneja told Medical Dialogues, "They are suffering from core exhaustion after continuously working for days. We all need rest sometimes."
Terming the government's decision to deploy Medical Interns in Covid Management duties under the supervision of their faculty as "self sabotage", the release further added that the inclusion of batches of students (2016 and 2017 respectively) for Covid duty is condemnable as they have almost mil clinical exposure in the past.
The release added, "Asking these "Digital Zoom Medical Students" to be in the front line is like committing self-sabotage. We are throwing them into an ocean without life support. What is the point in utilizing untrained medical students and interns who have bare to none clinical experience to handle COVID-19 patients?"
Apart from these issues, the release also mentioned beginning dual helplines (at the National level and Tamil Nadu) for doctors and the public in general. The release added, "Running 24/7, this team of dedicated doctors have pledged hours of work seeking 02 Beds, Intensive Care Unit admission, drug availability Remdesivir, Tocilizumab, Plasma donors and more!"
Besides, a COVID-19 Helpline for Delhi Police has also been started from 24th April 2021 and has been smoothly functioning till the present day. "We have assisted more than 2550 calls till 2nd May 2021. This was created with an intent to create rapport with the Delhi Police. Helping one another, we wanted to extend our hands to the Police force to ensure that Healthcare workers receive adequate and prompt safety. As seen in the media, we have numerous examples of brutal inhumane violence against doctors, hospitals getting ransacked and demolished," stated the release.
On this, Dr. Juneja added, "It is going really well. Only yesterday we got 110 calls. All calls were regarding moderate symptoms, or matters related to home isolation, getting RTPCR."
"We want to keep a good bond with the Delhi Police considering the incidents of violence against doctors. In the near future also, people might blame the doctor for not getting beds, or oxygen even though the doctors are not responsible for this. We need good police protection considering the recent situation."
"Delhi Police have started a unique service where doctors are being given priority regarding the issues of violence," he added.