Centre mends rule to allow diploma holder MBBS doctors to practice as specialists
Centre mends rule to allow diploma holder MBBS doctors to practice as specialists, NEW DELHI: The Centre has amended rules to allow diploma holder MBBS doctors to practice as specialists across India and carry out procedures that only post-graduate degree holders were permitted to do earlier.
Making changes in the Indian Medical Council Act 1956, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, in consultation with the Medical Council of India, has notified that all the diploma courses, conducted by the College of Physicians and Surgeons (CPS), Mumbai will be considered as a recognised qualification retrospectively from 2009.
This effectively means that the CPS diploma holders can now be hired as specialists in public as well as private hospitals.
Sources in the health ministry said that the move was intended to make up for the huge shortfall of specialists particularly gynaecologists, paediatrician and anaesthesiologists in the government hospitals in India.
“The move enables the hospitals to opt for affiliation from CPS and offer on-job training for resident doctors for two years at the end of which they will be considered specialists in the respective branches,” a senior health ministry official said.
CPS diplomas, offered in anaesthesia, paediatrics, obstetrics and gynaecology, Orthopaedics, radiology and several other specialities, till recently were recognized only by Maharashtra and Gujarat Governments.
The institute currently sees about 800 MBBS doctors passing out as diploma holders every year but the recognition by the Centre could mean that the number will reach about 12,000.
Devi Shetty, chairman of Narayana Health and founder of the Association of Healthcare Providers of India who was instrumental in getting the new rule approved said that it is an “excellent opportunity acquire intermediate specialization which in-turn can strengthen rural healthcare delivery and improve healthcare indicators by making available adequate specialists in healthcare delivery system.”
Government’s own data suggest that while the country produces 63,835 MBBS graduates every year, it has less than 25000 PG seats. In contrast, specialists’ vacancies are reported to be more than 80 per cent in community health centers alone.
“We cannot improve on health indicators including infant or maternal mortality rate by merely increasing budget allocation unless we have specialists to deliver medical care,” Girdhar Gyani, director genral of the AHPI told The New Indian Express.
He also pointed out that there are about 5.6 million women requiring Caesarean section every year and for that country needs 150,000 obstetricians-gynaecologists against the present number of 30,000.
Statistics also show that the country requires 200,000 Paediatricians against presently available 23,000 and 100,000 Radiologists against the presently available figure of 10,000.
Medical experts on the other hand, cautioned that if the diploma holders are being given a chance to practice as specialists, the focus should mainly be on practical training.
“Diploma holders definitely have lower level of training, expertise and exposure as compared to degree holders and if the country and masses are made to accept them as specialist doctors the quality of training should be very good,” said Rishma Pai, president of the Federation of Obstetrician and Gynaecological Societies of India.
India has been struggling with its healthcare indices and has fared poorly on global rankings repeatedly.
A recently released ranking of Health Systems for the year 2017covering 190-countries by the World Health Organisation ranked the country at 112 and highlighted that the country has just 0.7 doctors per 1000 population.