Overplayed narrative of fewer doctors in the country, rather than a system for proper utilization is an effort to increase numbers of doctors. But this goal needs to be achieved with preserving quality of medical education. Almost all efforts to increase the number of doctors are associated on dilution of merit. Selling the medical seats is heading towards bubble burst, when despite declining demand for poor quality and expensive medical education, new private colleges being approved along with lowering merit to a dismal percentage.
Future doctors getting admissions by scoring just 10-20 percent of marks, poor teacher student ratio, seats being awarded to highest bidder are few pointers to the poor quality of medical education. Few years back NEET percent system was changed to percentile and now the bar is lowered further, just to accommodate more ‘bidders’ with less marks, to be able to buy medical seats.
This potpourri portends to be a travesty of quality, not just of medical education but more seriously, of the quality of doctors. Allotment of medical seats is being left to the vagaries of populism and commercialism, through a false sense ‘the illusion of merit’ secured via NEET. Admission criteria whittled down to mere 10-20 percent, will result in an irreversible and regressive compromise with quality of doctors. Will patients approve such dizzying choice and at what cost?
Going by selection of candidates as doctors, if given a choice, by which a patient will like to get treated? A candidate who scored 20 % marks or a person getting 60% or 80% marks. NEET eligibility getting lower and a candidate getting around 20 % of marks may be able to secure a degree to treat patients. What will be the deciding factor? The criteria as to why a person with 60% marks not getting a seat and another with 20% marks will be able to secure. It will depend upon, whether a candidate is able to pay the exorbitant fee or not. Present system and mechanism of admission permit and accept such huge variation! That strange equation is acceptable in lieu of money paid!
In a move that is likely to boost uptake in vacant post-graduate medical seats and also improve availability of specialists in future, the health ministry has slashed the cutoff for NEET-PG 2021 by 15 percentile across all categories. The ministry issued a letter to the National Medical Commission on Saturday giving a go-ahead to the proposal. The revised qualifying cutoff now stands at 35 percentile for the general category, 30 percentile for persons with disabilities (PwD) general, 25 for SC/ST and OBC and 25 for PwD (SC/ST/OBC), the letter said. The reduction in the cut off percentile is expected to allow more MBBS passouts to apply for post-graduate courses, an official said. “The move aims to prevent seat wastage. With this reduction in percentile, approximately 25,000 fresh candidates can participate in the mop-up round of the ongoing counselling,” a ministry official said. Nearly 8,000 post-graduate seats are still vacant despite two rounds each of all India and state counselling. “After due discussion and deliberations, it has been decided by the health ministry in consultation with NMC to reduce the cut off by 15 percentile across all categories…” medical counselling committee member-secretary wrote in a letter to National Board of Examinations executive director . TOI has reviewed the letters. The move is also expected to fill a serious gap in the availability of specialists. There remains a severe shortfall of over 76% in terms of specialists like surgeons, gynaecologists, physicians and paediatricians at community health centres. Against the requirement for existing infrastructure, there is a shortfall of 78.9% surgeons, 69.7% obstetricians & gynaecologists, 78.2% physicians and 78.2% paediatricians. The Centre has further directed NBE to declare the revised results and send data of the newly eligible candidates to the counselling committee