MUMBAI: With hundreds of medical super specialty course seats vacant, the authorities have removed the qualifying mark criterion for aspirants. So, rock-bottom scores or a zero percentile would be acceptable for a course at this level.
Such decisions appear to be cruel joke to the life of patients. A wise decision would be to review into reasons for vacant seats for example- policies, fee structure, facilities, demand for the course, and disillusionment of students by existing system or falling percentages to be a super-specialist doctor.
Imagine, an opportunity is available to a patient, to decide the doctor as based on his route or marks for entry into medical college. Whether patient will like to get treated by a doctor, who secured 20% marks, 30 % marks or 60% marks or 80% marks for medical college. Even an illiterate person can answer that well. But strangely for selection of doctors, rules were framed so as to dilute the merit to the minimum possible. So that a candidate who scores 15-20 % marks also becomes eligible to become a doctor. That is now further diluted to nearly Zero percentile. Answer to that is simple. To select and find only those students, who can pay millions to become doctors, and hence marks and quality of doctors don’t matter?
If the society continues to accept such below par practices, it has to introspect, whether it actually deserves to get good doctors. Paying the irrational fee of medical colleges may be unwise idea for the candidates, especially those who are not from strong financial backgrounds. But at the same time unfortunately, it may be a compulsion and entrapment for students, who have entered the profession and there is no way forward.
Society needs to choose and nurture a force of doctors carefully with an aim to combat for safety of its own people. If society has failed to demand for a good doctors and robust system, it should not rue scarcity of good doctors. Merit based cheap good medical education system is the need of the society. This is in interest of society to nurture good doctors for its own safety. The quality of doctors who survive and flourish in such system will be a natural consequence of how society chooses and nurtures the best for themselves.
MUMBAI: With hundreds of medical super specialty course seats vacant, the authorities have removed the qualifying mark criterion for aspirants. So, rock-bottom scores or a zero percentile would be acceptable for a course at this level. “Seats have been going vacant every year. The government felt that as a one-time measure, in the larger context of things, we can even accept students with a zero percentile. This will not have any precedence. It is being taken up as a test case. After all, the entrance test was not conducted to eliminate students, but merely to grade them,” said a senior officer from the health ministry. With 748 super speciality seats unfilled after four rounds of admission this year, the Medical Counselling Committee (MCC) took the drastic step. As a one-time measure, any candidate who had taken the NEET super speciality 2021 exam can participate in the special mop-up admission round irrespective of his/her scores.
When admissions began this year, two rounds conducted by the MCC got a cold response. This led to a special mop-up round with the qualifying bar lowered by 15%. Yet, there weren’t many takers. Now the second mop-up round is open to all aspirants. India has about 4,500 super specialty medical seats. There is more vacancy in the surgical branches than the clinical ones. “Candidates have realised that having a broad speciality gives them a good career and money. Hence, many do not want to spend more time in pursuing a super specialty course,” said Dr Pravin Shingare, former head of the Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER). “If you look at Grant Medical College, 80% seats in super specialty have been lying vacant for 10 years. At GS Medical College, 40% seats in the last 4-5 years have been unfilled,” he added. But the trend has extended to the non-surgical branches too in the past three years. The bias in selecting programmes often is dictated by considerations that in the case of a surgical branch, a candidate needs to work with a team, have an operation theatre, but a clinical course allows the doctor to work independently out of a clinic.
Parent representative Sudha Shenoy said the problem also lies with the long bond that candidates need to serve if they join a government college. “Any candidate who joins a super specialty programme would be at least 30 years old. If they have to serve a 10-year bond, when will they start earning? So, government hospitals go off most students’ choice list. And when it comes to private and deemed institutes, the fee is out of bounds for most,” explained Shenoy