MBBS Course is going to be six and half years. Government wants to extend MBBS course by one year AND EVEN AFTER THAT A MBBS CANDIDATE CANNOT TREAT CANCER PATIENTS
The proposal is with MCI At Present
The Medical Council of India is set to extend the duration of the MBBS course by a year. One year’s rural postings for doctors has also been made compulsory by the ministry. The MBBS course will now be for six-and-a-half instead of five-and-a-half years.
The proposal to extend the duration of the MBBS course by a year and a year of compulsory rural posting was unanimously approved in a meeting held on Saturday by Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad. The MCI has been asked to work on the issue as this will require an amendment in the regulation “The Minimum Standard Requirement, 1999”. Speaking to this newspaper, a senior health ministry official said: “Under the regulation the duration of internship is for one year, which includes three months’ posting in rural areas and nine months in a hospital attached to a medical college.”
It was learnt that the proposal will now be placed before the board of governors of the MCI and will then be sent to the Centre for approval. Shortage of doctors and poor health services were apparently the reasons why it is being made compulsory for doctors to serve a year in rural areas.
However, a section of doctors feel the decision “will lead to an addition of one year in the training programme before getting the MBBS degree”. A doctor pointed out that “the course was already of five-and-a-half for MBBS, three years for post-graduation and then three more years for doing super-speciality courses”. He said under the existing system the total “duration comes to nearly 11-and-a-half years”.
It may be recalled that following a string of protests the proposal of the then health minister, Dr Anbumani Ramadoss, to extend the MBBS course and make rural postings compulsory for a year had to be withdrawn. Dr Ramadoss had tried to make rural duty compulsory for graduates. However, rapid deterioration of health services in rural areas and graduates trying to stay on in urban areas made the government take a re-look at the entire proposal again.
MUMBAI: An MBBS doctor can neither treat nor dispense medicines to a cancer patient, director of medical education P H Shringare and director of public health Suresh Gupta have told Aurangabad information commissioner D B Deshpande. TOI had reported on December 27 that, following an RTI appeal, the commissioner had summoned Shringare and Gupta on the issue.
Shringare told the commissioner that MBBS doctors have not been taught about cancer drugs, cancer treatment and chemotherapy. Furthermore, only pharmacists registered under the Pharmacy Council Act, 1948, can dispense drugs to a cancer patient, he said.
Gupta, while endorsing Shringare’s view, said that only in a special circumstance can an MBBS doctor give a cancer patient preliminary treatment. “Under the cancer prevention programme, we are imparting training to MBBS doctors for preliminary treatment of cancer patients. Once trained, they can treat a cancer patient, but only after the treatment protocol is prescribed by a cancer specialist.”
Showing how an MBBS doctor is unqualified to treat cancer, Shringare submitted to the commission, “In the curriculum prescribed by the Maharashtra University of Health Sciences, an MBBS doctor is not taught administration of medicines to a cancer patient. In fact, it has been stated that principles of cancer treatment and their adverse drug reactions, individual agents and regimes need not be taught. Thus, an MBBS doctor does not have a comprehensive knowledge of medicines prescribed for treatment of cancer.”
On chemotherapy, Shringare said the subject is not included in the MBBS curriculum. “An MBBS doctor can diagnose common clinical disorders and cancer is not a common clinical disorder. So it would be inappropriate for an MBBS doctor to administer chemotherapy,” he said. On the basis of their submissions, Deshpande asked the chief secretary to draft comprehensive norms for dispensation and administration of medicines to cancer patients.
NEW DELHI: India is planning to make its undergraduate MBBS course six-and-a-half years long, instead of the present five-and-a-half years.
In a meeting on Saturday, health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and the Medical Council of India (MCI) discussed amending the MCI Act that would make a one-year rural posting compulsory for all MBBS students before they can become doctors. The proposal was first mooted by former health minister A Ramadoss in 2007.
Speaking to TOI, MCI chairman Dr K K Talwar said, “It is not that we have cleared the proposal. This was discussed on Saturday. In another two weeks time, we will prepare a module on how we can make MBBS doctors go and work in rural areas. The ministry will then take a call.”
Dr Talwar, however, cautioned, “We haven’t yet decided to introduce the six-and-a-half year MBBS course from next year. The proposal is still in planning stages now.”
According to Dr Talwar, if the proposal is cleared, India’s 40,000 students will be utilized for a year in the National Rural Health Mission.
“Medicine is a long career. One year of rural posting, in which students will be exposed to unique cases and diseases, will only do them good. However, the students will not be paid as interns but as doctors during that extra year of rural posting,” Dr Talwar said.
India is facing an acute shortage of human resources in health – the sting of which is being faced by the flagship NRHM, and the vulnerable population in rural, tribal and hilly areas is extremely underserved.
In 2006, only 26% of doctors in India lived in rural areas, serving 72% of the population. A study found that the urban density of doctors was about four times that in rural areas, and that of nurses about three times higher. As of March, 2010, undue delays in recruitments resulted in vacancies even in available posts at health centres. Over 34% of male health workers, 38% of radiographers, 16% of laboratory technicians, 31% of specialists, 20% of pharmacists and 17% of ANMs and 10% of doctors’ posts were lying vacant.
As per a Planning Commission study, the country is short of six lakh doctors, 10 lakh nurses and 2 lakh dental surgeons, leading to a dismal doctor-patient ratio.
An earlier ministry report had pointed out while only 6.3% of the posts for doctors were vacant on paper, a staggering 67% of them played truant. The ministry had earlier given incentives to MBBS students if they worked in rural areas for a year. It had said working in rural India could stand MBBS students a better chance of getting a post-graduate (PG) medical seat.
According to the incentive, MBBS doctors who underwent rural service would sit for the PG exam with an added advantage – they would have 10-30 marks guaranteed.
Azad had said those MBBS students who did one year of rural service would get 10 marks as additional weightage while those who did three years in the country’s most backward areas would get 30 marks. He said 50% seats in PG diploma courses would be reserved for medical officers in government service who had served for at least three years in remote and difficult areas.
“However none of these incentives have paid dividends till now,” said Dr Talwar.