With the tenure of the final year Doctor of Medicine (MD), Master of Surgery (MS) and Diploma courses extended for an unspecified period following the second wave of COVID-19 in the country, resident doctors have urged the government to consider the extended period as senior residency. The Federation of All India Medical Association (FAIMA) and the
Federation of Resident Doctors’ Association (FORDA) have individually taken up the matter with the
In a letter written to the Secretary of Health, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, FORDA stated that the final year MD/MS/Diploma doctors are serving extensions of their tenure due to lack of manpower as the new first-year post-MS/MD/Diploma doctors are unable to join pending NEET-PG examination. The letter alleged that they are under extreme mental agony as the period of extension has not yet been specified and seems “never ending” for them. Had there not been an extension in the first place, these doctors would have joined senior residency by now and their time would have been “well utilized” towards their professional career, the organization alleged.
Demand direct promotion
Meanwhile, FAIMA has written letters to the Prime Minister, Health Minister and National Medical Commission in this regard. In its letter to NMC, FAIMA sought direct promotion to senior residency. It has also urged the body which regulates medical education to consider the extended tenure as post-graduate experience.
“In case of post-graduate courses, the duration of courses is three years. Once the three-year tenure is over, they are automatically given senior residency all over India. However, due to COVID-19, exams have been delayed and the tenure has been extended. The extended period cannot be counted as part of post-graduation. Therefore, it should be considered as senior residency. Also, for becoming assistant professor, one has to complete a three-year senior residency,” said Dr Rohan Krishnan, Vice President, FAIMA. He also stated that the decision to extend tenure for an unspecified period was taken unilaterally and no student bodies were represented.
“The tenure of the final year MD/MS/Diploma has been extended for an unspecified period. The courses have been completed and many of the students have already served an extended period of two to three months. After post-graduation, we have to do senior residency. As the tenure has been extended for an unspecified period, we are unable to join for Senior Residency,” said Dr Manish, President, FORDA.
According to FORDA, the curriculum of medical education is the longest of all and any further delay in academics would be a deterrent towards the holistic development of the students.He said the medical fraternity is bearing the brunt of COVID-19 infection amidst a lack of manpower and that the services of the final year MD/MS/Diploma doctors are crucial to the successful war against COVID-19 in India.
Pay on par with SRs
He requested that, in the best interest of the final year MD/MS/Diploma students and the nation at large, the period of extension may be counted as senior residency to avoid academic losses to these doctors and as a part of the compulsory bond. FORDA also asked the government to pay those serving extensions on par with senior residents.
The association further urged the government to conduct NEET-PG at the earliest with an adequate notice period so that new first year doctors may join and those serving extensions may be relieved. “The number of COVID cases has come down. Therefore, the government can consider conducting the NEET-PG examination,” said Dr Manish. He added that it would take at least a month’s time to complete the admission formalities.
Dr Manish further stated they have not yet received any response from the government. “We will give them a reminder and meet the authorities directly to discuss our demands,” he said.