Monday, July 25, 2016

MCI ruining medical education: Satyendra Jain


The Medical Council of India (MCI) should without any further delay just double, if not triple, the postgraduate seats in government medical colleges and hospitals, according to Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain.

"There is an organisation in this country, whose name is MCI. Their work is to ruin the medical education system of this country. And they are doing it very carefully and very well. They don't want to increase the number of PG seats," said Jain while speaking at a conference in Delhi on Saturday.

He said, "The MCI should without any further delay just double, if not triple, the PG seats in government medical colleges and hospitals. And this should be without asking for anything. Because in our government hospitals, there are already two patients on one bed. But I know there is vested interest involved and they will never do it. They are supporting only private medical colleges which charge Rs 1 crore to Rs 5 crore for one medical PG seat."

According to the health minister, the Delhi government with the help of the National Board of Examination (NBE) will soon start DNB courses in broad specialities like paediatrics, medicine, surgery, orthopaedics, obstetrics & gynaecology and anaesthesia in all major district hospitals.

Talking about the public private partnership (PPP) model, the minister said, "Currently, there is only one MRI in the Delhi government hospitals. But we have already issued tenders for five MRI and 10 CT Scan machines. The cost of doing one MRI in Delhi government hospital currently is around Rs 25,000. So, we have realised we cannot do everything efficiently on our own and we will go for PPP wherever necessary. Even lab tests will be done through private partners. We will just focus on our core competencies like providing patient care."

High-powered committee may suggest scrapping of MCI

A four-member committee headed by NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Arvind Panagariya set up for recommending an overhaul of the scandals-tainted Medical Council of India (MCI) is likely to suggest that it be replaced by an altogether new regulatory body.

It is likely to recommend that no member from the MCI’s staff be appointed to the new medical education commission being proposed “for building a modern education system.”

After its final meeting here on Saturday, the high-powered panel is all set to submit its recommendations next week to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Health Secretary B. P. Sharma, Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant and Prime Minister’s Additional Principal Secretary P.K. Mishra are the other members on the committee, which also sought views of a variety of stakeholders before finalising its report.

A source at the Aayog told PG Times that another recommendation is likely to be that the new medical education commission comprise three verticals, each headed by eminent working professionals in the field of health, including from the private sector. “The committee will not like these professionals to be asked to give up their professional commitments to take up the responsibilities at the new regulator,” the source said. The separate verticals proposed are for overseeing curriculum, ethics and accreditation.

In March 2016, a Parliamentary Standing Committee report called for “radical reform” of the MCI, saying that it neither “represents professional excellence nor its ethos” and that its composition was “opaque” and “biased” against larger public health goals. It also said that the Central government had virtually no power to disagree with the MCI.

Two months later, in May, endorsing this report that medical education and profession in the country is at its “lowest ebb” and suffering from “total system failure” due to corruption and decay, the Supreme Court used its rare and extraordinary powers under the Constitution to set up a three-member committee, headed by former Chief Justice of India R.M. Lodha, to oversee the functioning of the MCI for at least a year.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

'Autopsy doesn't suggest AIIMS junior resident killed himself'

The autopsy of AIIMS junior resident Sarvanan Ganeshan, who died under mysterious circumstances last week, indicates that he did not commit suicide, said a senior doctor who has seen the report.
The circumstances in which Ganeshan's body was found also clearly indicated that he did not commit suicide and died an unnatural death, the doctor, who requested not to be named, told PG Times.
"The report says there was no external or internal injury. There was no substantial evidence of presence of drugs where his body was found," he said.
"Also, the door was not locked, which usually does not happen if some one commits suicide."
The doctors will, however, consult the police once again before coming to a definitive conclusion, he said.
Also awaited is the toxicology report, which may take a few months before it is submitted to the police.
"Such situations are very surprising and take time to yield exact clues. However, the current situation indicates that he did not commit suicide," the doctor said.
Sarvanan Ganeshan, 26, who was studying for an MD degree at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), was found dead on July 11 in his rented flat here under mysterious circumstances.

Bill on NEET gets Lok Sabha approval

A significant bill aimed at putting in place a single common examination for medical and dental courses was today passed by the Lok Sabha, with the government saying even private colleges will be under its ambit.

The Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 2016 and the The Dentists (Amendment) Bill, 2016 provides a Constitutional status to the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) examination" which is intended to be introduced in the academic session next year.



The Bill seeks to amend the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 and the Dentists Act, 1948 and replace the Ordinances that were promulgated by the government to circumvent the Supreme Court order for implementation ofNEET examination this session itself.

Moving the Bill for consideration and passing, Health Minister J P Nadda said there were three main objectives behind the move -- end the multiplicity of examinations, have fair and transparent examinations and adopt non-exploitative process.

He said earlier students would have to travel long distances to appear for several medical entrance examinations.

Currently students undergo exploitation particularly with regard to the caiptation fees, he said, adding the new legislation will end this.

Responding to apprehensions expressed by members, particularly Tamil Nadu where reservation is upto 85 per cent, he clarified, "We are not going to touch the state quota. Students in Tamil Nadu will be competing in Tamil Nadu only.. We should be very much clear about that."

However, AIADMK members were not satisfied and staged a walkout.

Nadda said the exam will be held on the basis of the syllabus of NCERT and the under-graduate exam will be taken up by CBSE and post-graduation by the national board of examination.

"In the syllabus, we will take care of the differences and we will do standardisation of syllabus so that rural students can also taken care of," he added.

Responding to contention by some members that NEET will provide benefits to private institutions, the Health Minister denied that and said their exams will also be conducted under NEET.

On the concerns over fees in the private medical colleges, he said a committee of judges will decide the fees for private colleges while the government will do it for government institutes.

With regard to apprehensions over whether exams will be conducted in regional languages, Nadda said, "we will also arrange test in regional languages and that is not an issue".

The health ministry has written to all the states seeking details about the number of students who appeared in local languages in the last three years so that the Centre can make plans accordingly.

Nadda also responded to concerns over the involvement of Medical Council of India as some members alleged that the body is "corrupt" and does not perform its duties properly.

"A committee has been set up by the Prime Minister and that is at the final stage. Stakeholders have been called. The report is being finalised. We take cognisance of the issue," he said.

RSP member Premachandran, who had moved statutory amendments to the Bill, praised Nadda for addressing all issues in a "clear manner". While not going ahead with moving the amendments, he said, "I am very much impressed" by the minister's response.

Lok Sabha approves two bills to replace NEET ordinances

A significant bill aimed at putting in place a single common examination for medical and dental courses was on Wednesday passed by the Lok Sabha, with the government saying even private colleges will be under its ambit.
The Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 2016 and the The Dentists (Amendment) Bill, 2016 provides a Constitutional status to the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) examination" which is intended to be introduced in the academic session next year.
The Bill seeks to amend the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 and the Dentists Act, 1948 and replace the Ordinances that were promulgated by the government to circumvent the Supreme Court order for implementation of NEET examination this session itself.
Moving the Bill for consideration and passing, Health Minister J P Nadda said there were three main objectives behind the move -- end the multiplicity of examinations, have fair and transparent examinations and adopt non-exploitative process.
He said earlier students would have to travel long distances to appear for several medical entrance examinations.
Currently students undergo exploitation particularly with regard to the caiptation fees, he said, adding the new legislation will end this.
Responding to apprehensions expressed by members, particularly Tamil Nadu where reservation is upto 85 per cent, he clarified, "We are not going to touch the state quota.
Students in Tamil Nadu will be competing in Tamil Nadu only.. We should be very much clear about that."
However, AIADMK members were not satisfied and staged a walkout.
Nadda said the exam will be held on the basis of the syllabus of NCERT and the under-graduate exam will be taken up by CBSE and post-graduation by the national board of examination.
"In the syllabus, we will take care of the differences and we will do standardisation of syllabus so that rural students can also taken care of," he added.
Responding to contention by some members that NEET will provide benefits to private institutions, the Health Minister denied that and said their exams will also be conducted under NEET.
On the concerns over fees in the private medical colleges, he said a committee of judges will decide the fees for private colleges while the government will do it for government institutes.
With regard to apprehensions over whether exams will be conducted in regional languages, Nadda said, "we will also arrange test in regional languages and that is not an issue".
The health ministry has written to all the states seeking details about the number of students who appeared in local languages in the last three years so that the Centre can make plans accordingly.
Nadda also responded to concerns over the involvement of Medical Council of India as some members alleged that the body is "corrupt" and does not perform its duties properly.
"A committee has been set up by the Prime Minister and that is at the final stage. Stakeholders have been called. The report is being finalised. We take cognisance of the issue," he said.
RSP member Premachandran, who had moved statutory amendments to the Bill, praised Nadda for addressing all issues in a "clear manner". While not going ahead with moving the amendments, he said, "I am very much impressed" by the minister's response.
Earlier, Premachandran said he fully agrees with the content of the Bill but disapproves of the Ordinance route adopted by the Centre.
Cutting across party lines, members also cited judicial overreach and said the Supreme Court should not dictate government on what to do.
"Judiciary is discharging functions of the Executive. They are trespassing into all spheres. The responsibility of judiciary is to interpret the legislation," Premachandran said.
KC Venugopal (Cong) said uniform entrance test is a necessity to avoid irregularity and corruption but Supreme Court cannot dictate on which date the exam should be conducted.
Raising issues over the functioning of the Medical Council of India (MCI), Venugopal said that a Standing Committee report too had highlighted this.
"MCI has failed in discharging its duties. The government should bring a comprehensive act to amend the medical council act and improve functioning of MCI," Venugopal said.
He also raised the issue of private coaching institutes making money as students will have to study everything afresh for NEET.
Deputy Speaker M Thambidurai, who was in the Chair, too remarked that students will give too much importance to NEET preparations and that would impact their preformace in higher secondary examination.
Sanjay Jaiswal (BJP) demanded that the process of conducting NEET should be foolproof like UPSC examination.
TG Venkatesh Babu (AIADMK) demanded that states should not be forced to adopt NEET from 2017 and it should be left to the states to decide whether they want their own examination or choose to have uniform test.
Babu said since the NEET would be conducted only in two languages, students who are from poor background and studied in regional languages, they will lose out compared to the elite category students.
During the debate, Mallikarjun Kharge (Cong) and Saugata Roy (TMC) expressed concern over Centre's handling of medical colleges run by Employee's State Insurance Corporation.
Under mounting pressure from several states, government had in May promulgated two ordinances to keep state boards out of the ambit of uniform medical and dental entrance examination, National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET), for this year.
The amendment bill 2016 also seeks to amend section 33 of the Act to enable the Council to make regulations for all matters connected with the conduct of uniform entrance examinations.
Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar (Trinamool Congress) suggested that the common examination should be conducted in all recognised languages and should not clash with board examinations being conducted by the state governments.
Describing the Medical Council of India (MCI) a "corrupt" body, she said it could not be entrusted with the task of conducting entrance examination.
She also criticised the health policy of the centre saying it was 'lop sided' and focused only on examinations.
B Mahtab (BJD) wanted to know how under the new system 85 percent seats in the medical colleges would be reserved for the students belonging to the state.
He also expressed apprehension over the ability of the MCI to conduct enxtrance examination for medical collages.
Mahtab said he was not in a position to support the bill and added, "don't bring the bill because you are prodded by the Supreme Court. Don't get prodded."
Several members were of the opinion that the NEET, which is more based on the syllabus of the CBSE, should also take the syallabus of the state boards into account.
However, a large section of members came hard on the functioning of the Medical Council of India. This made Deputy Speaker M Thambidurai intervene into the matter suggesting whether amendments could be made in the law under which government can assert control to ensure better functioning of the MCI.
Shrikant Shinde (Shiv Sena) said it was important to have a level playing field and uniformity needs to be brought in the NEET.
He said students hailing from North should be allowed to have a say in taking admission in a college from his region.
If a student is posted in South India or any other point, then langauge could be a barrier in treating patients, he said.
Welcoming the legislation, P Ravindra Babu (TDP) demanded that a paper on Law and Moral and Ethics should be introduced for medical students.
Likening NEET to making a diesel car run on petrol, B N Goud (TRS) said there needs to be uniformity of syllabus.
MB Rajesh (CPM) demanded that NEET be conducted in all languages mentioned in Schedule VIII of the Constituion.
Varaprasad Rao Velagapalli (YSRCP) came out in favour of the Supreme Court judgement saying the present examination system was only for the rich. He also emphasised on the Common Exit Test so that only best students be allowed to practise in the larger interest of the society. The TRS MP was highly criticial of functioning of the MCI.
Adhir Ranjan Chaudhary also criticised the functioning of MCI.
Former Union Health Minister and PMK leader Anbumani Ramadoss voiced strong opposition to NEET saying it is against "social justice, social equity" apart from doing "gross injustice to rural students".
Asking what is the need for an entrance examination, he said NEET should be done away with and urged the government to take up the matter with the Supreme Court.
As soon as Ramadoss completed his speech, AIADMK leader and Deputy Speaker M Thambidurai, who was in the chair, said sense of the House is that and the Minister concerned also knows the issue.
Supriya Sule (NCP) wondered what is the logic behind having a common entrance test even as she emphasised that she was not against having a single examination.
However, the impression about the NEET is that it is "pro-urban and pro-CBSE", she noted.
"What really do you (government) have in mind?... Please do rethink," Sule asked and stressed that the government should look at ways of having more doctors in the country.
Dushyant Chautala (INLD) raised concerns about high costs involved in medical education, especially in getting admissions.
In the context of NEET, he said that students who have studied state boards might not be able to compete with those who have studied CBSE syllabus.
Noting that medical education is costly, Kaushalendra Kumar (JD-U) suggested that the Centre should look at providing financial assistance of around Rs 15-20 lakh to students who clear NEET.
Heena Gavit (BJP) said common medical entrance is a welcome move but then there should also be a common syllabus and added that post graduate entrance examinations should be conducted in only English.
Participating in the discussion, ET Mohammed Basheer (IUML) called for a comprehensive legislation to control private medical institutions.
Expelled RJD member Rajesh Ranjan also spoke.

Norms for starting medical colleges to be eased: Govt

The government said it is working on relaxing policy norms for starting medical colleges and increasing post graduate seats in the existing ones to address shortage of doctors. 

Union health minister JP Nadda said the number of medical colleges in the government sector was being increased so that the shortfall of medical professionals can be met. "Addressing the issue of shortage of doctors cannot be done overnight, and for this, we will have to go for policy changes... We have reduced space requirement for opening medical colleges," Nadda said, adding that the government was also looking at easing norms so that hospitals in towns can also start colleges.

The ministry is also planning to ease the specifications regarding required staff in medical colleges. 



The health ministry has already given approval for a major increase in postgraduate seats in key departments at All India Institute for Medical Sciences (AIIMS) to address the severe dearth of specialists across the country. The departments that will get more PG seats include gynaecology, paediatrics, burns and plastic surgery, emergency medicines as well as rheumatology and biotechnology.

Similarly, the government also plans to increase seats and capacities in other central hospitals. The plans have been chalked out spanning next three years.


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

After MBBS, very few students opting for forensic science

Data from the last few years has revealed that after MBBS, post-graduation students do not opt for forensic science and toxicology to the extent that every year, nearly five out of the total eight seats in forensic science go vacant in medical colleges across Mumbai. This in turn puts added pressure on forensic science department heads while conducting forensic analysis.
While Grant Medical College (JJ Hospital), Sion Hospital, LTMG, GS Medical College and TN Medical College all offer post-graduation in forensic science, students prefer taking admission in general streams as against forensic science. Data procured by a former student of JJ Hospital through Right to Information (RTI) shows that of the eight post-graduate seats assigned to this branch, a mere three get filled up. Dr Sagar Mundada, president, Central Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors, said, “Most job opportunities are in the government sector, but even these are not enough and there is struggle for getting the same jobs. Also, women almost always prefer not to take up this field owing to the medico-legal nature of the job.”
Dr Sunil Kadam, professor and HOD, Forensic Science, KJ Somaiya College, said, “Earlier, there were two seats for professors and four for associate professors and eight lectures, which have been reduced by the Medical Council of India (MCI). Due to these changes, private colleges have benefitted. Due to stagnation, MBBS students do not opt for this course in their post-graduation. There is no promotion and the retirement age has also been extended.”
To increase forensic expert posts, in 2013 the state announced that one forensic expert would be appointed in all district hospitals. However, it has not been implemented. Dr Harish Pathak, professor of Forensic Medicine, KEM Hospital, said, “We had a meeting with the government body, and they promised to recruit one forensic expert in all district hospitals. This will create employment for 20 to 30 doctors. Until the government increases the posts, why will students take up forensic science rather than opting for paediatrics or gynaecology?”
Between them, the four colleges get around 9,500 bodies for post-mortems along with hundreds of POCSO and rape cases.