Tamil Nadu to rope in Foreign Medical Graduates as one time measure to Battle COVID-19: Report
Chennai: In an attempt to manage the current situation of Covid-19 pandemic, the Tamil Nadu Government has decided to rope in about 500 foreign medical graduates to join the fight against the pandemic.
According to a recent report by The Hindu, following a proposal by the Director of Medical Education (DME), the State government has lifted the restriction on the intake of students for Compulsory Rotatory Residential Internship or CRRI at government medical colleges as a one-time measure.
Now, the medical graduates who have pursued their education from foreign universities and cleared the qualifying examination by the National Medical Commission (NMC), erstwhile Medical Council of India (MCI), can join the fight against pandemic after getting into the CRRI program.
However, the order issued by DME regarding this issue hasn't mentioned anything about changing the current fee structure. The foreign medical graduates have appealed before the Government for considering a total waiver of the CRRI fee at both government and private hospitals and increase the quota for them.
In April, DME had sought a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the Government for the CRRI to students of other States, private colleges, and other universities, and foreign medical graduates without any ceiling. The current situation of the pandemic, the urgent need for measures to curb the spread of Covid-19, and the alarming proportions with increased mortality had also been underscored by the DME.
The proposal was to relax the Tamil Nadu Medical Council's stipulation that medical colleges issue the NOC to foreign medical graduates and students of other States after ensuring that the admission under the CRRI did not exceed 10% of the MBBS seats allotted by the National Medical Commission.
DME's request was to be permitted to issue the NOC to foreign medical graduates to undergo the CRRI at government medical colleges without obtaining the NOC from the Tamil Nadu Dr MGR Medical University. It had been pointed out by the DME that the processing fee collected by MGR University was huge and was almost like a financial burden on the students.
Currently, to get admitted to CRRI, the foreign medical students need to pay Rs 5.5 lakh to get the NOC from the Dr. MGR Medical University. DME, in its proposal, had also sought to lift the restrictions on the internship by students of private and foreign medical colleges at seven government medical colleges — Madras Medical College; Stanley Medical College; Kilpauk Medical College, Chennai; Madurai Medical College; Mohan Kumaramangalam Medical College, Salem; Coimbatore Medical College; and Tirunelveli Medical College.
The proposal further mentioned that the medical colleges issue NOC to foreign medical graduates and students of other States as a one-time measure, after ensuring that the admission under the CRRI did not exceed 10% of the MBBS seats allotted by the National Medical Commission. DME also requested the Government to reduce the fee to Rs 2 lakh.
Following the DME order, the foreign medical graduates would join CRRI after getting NOC from DME without any ceiling. However, the fee structure was not changed and the order mentioned the authorities to follow the existing procedure for fee collection only.
While commenting on the matter Minister for Medical and Family Welfare Ma. Subramanian told The Hindu, "We have decided to rope in the foreign medical graduates [under the Compulsory Rotatory Residential Internship or CRRI] as part of the measures to strengthen the health workforce to manage the situation."
Sharing the news on Twitter, one user wrote, "Tamil Nadu's decision to rope in the foreign medical graduates under the CRRI (Compulsory Rotatory Residential Internship) to fight against COVID is a welcome step. Appreciate CM @mkstalin & Minister @Subramanian_ma."
Meanwhile, speaking to Medical Dialogues, Dr Kumaraguru, the secretary of FMG wing of Tamil Nadu Medical Student Association said, "More than 500 to 800 Foreign medical Graduate students had cleared the FMG exams and were awaiting approval to join internships. We have been demanding the immediate appointment of FMG students so that we can provide additional support to the healthcare workforce which is currently facing extreme pressure due to a surge in COVID cases. We finally got some favourable news from Gov as Health and Family Welfare Department issued an order instructing the authorities to give us NOC. However, we are yet to receive the official letter or the appointment details from the concerned authorities."
Meanwhile, Medical Dialogues had recently reported that the medical graduates, who have pursued their medical education from outside of India, have approached the Apex Court seeking directions upon the State to deploy such doctors in the Covid-19 workforce with facilities like that of MBBS graduates. The doctors who graduated from outside of India sought a one-time exemption for their members and for all other such doctors eligible to take the foreign medical graduate exam to augment the health infrastructure of the country.