The IMA said on Monday that the draught Postgraduate Medical Education Regulation Bill, which proposes a 100 percent central allotment for state medical seats, is “against the autonomy and envisioned role of the states in working toward public health as a right of the citizens”.
According to the bill, all seats will be filled by the Centre and the states will have no role in it, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) pointed out. “India being a federal state, leaving the role of states in medical education will be disastrous,” it said, demanding that the existing system of admission and selection criteria must continue for the PG seats.
It also demanded that the National Medical Commission (NMC) withdraw the “anti-federal, anti-student, anti-democratic, anti-patient care and anti-public health draft bill”, try to initiate a dialogue with the stakeholders to understand the ground reality and do course correction to ensure uniform standards of education and a uniform pattern of the scale of pay, stipend and facilities provided to the interns, faculties and residents too.
In a statement, the IMA said the original Medical Council of India (MCI) was functioning with democratically-elected state representatives, who always voiced for the collective consciousness of state welfare. However, as the NMC is full of nominated people, it is slowly excluding all state governments from the administration of medical education.
As of date, the broad-specialty post-graduation course admission is carried out through PG-NEET and 50 per cent admission is done under the All-India quota by the DGHS and the remaining 50 per cent seats are admitted by the state governments.
But according to the draft regulation, “There shall be common counselling for admission in all medical educational institutions to all postgraduate broad-specialty courses (Diploma/MD/MS) on the basis of merit list of the National Exit Test and to all postgraduate super-specialty courses (DM/MCh) on the basis of merit list of the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test”, the IMA pointed out.
It alleged that the NMC is still in a dilemma and has not given any clarity on the proposed NEXT exam. “However, this notification says, when a student writes his exam, the mark he scores will be valid for three years and he can rewrite the exam only after three years. This is a great injustice to the students. As it has proposed to conduct the NEXT exams in 2023, the NMC should come out with the pattern and type of examination after having wider democratic consultation with the students’ body, faculty, states and largest professional body IMA,” the statement read.
The IMA in principle welcomed the “district residency”, but said making it for a three-month period will result in overcrowding and impact the work in the medical college departments. Even for non-clinical postgraduates, spending three months in a district hospital will hamper the continuous theory and practical training, it said and demanded that the duration of the training period in the district hospitals be reduced to a month.
The revised proposals for certain broad-specialty courses to multiple super-specialty options have been drafted without due considerations of the students’ opinion and often changing it like this will create uncertainty and heartburn for the students preparing for the NEET SS exams, the statement said.
“Equally, the move to open up a dual degree in post-graduation and candidates doing simultaneous Ph.D are good to postulate, but in reality, will jeopardise the clinical acumen and involvement of the postgraduates’ inpatient care. “The NMC, which has been formed with great fanfare and promises, is now running into a non-performing body and playing the role of a silent spectator when the issues of interns, medical students and also the registered doctors are raised.
The NMC fails to respond to the death of 1,589 doctors in COVID-19 nor to issues of violence on doctors. However, they want to make inroads of mixopathy and centralising powers at the cost of the states,” the association said.
The Indian Medical Association has objected to the Andhra Pradesh government’s mandate for the installation of captive oxygen plants and adequate stocks of oxygen cylinders in hospitals (IMA). The state government appears to have made this decision in response to reports of several COVID-19 patients dying as a result of “inadequate oxygen.” The state alone has reported around two dozens of deaths reportedly due to lack of oxygen facilities.
Andhra Pradesh IMA President elect C Srinivasa Raju on Thursday described the government order issued in this regard as unnecessary, illogical and impractical. Issued recently by the Andhra Pradesh government, the order makes it compulsory for all the hospitals to install captive oxygen production facilities and ensure adequate oxygen supplies in their premises. As per the order, hospitals failing to do so will stand to forfeit their registrations.
Speaking to the media, Raju said the arbitrary nature of the order has bewildered the IMA. According to the IMA, the state government has failed to take the opinion of the different stakeholders while taking the decision. He noted that the decision has been taken without taking the opinion of the private hospitals and private doctors who are major stakeholders in the issues.
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The Andhra IMA president has also demanded for a state-level advisory committee to discuss the matters pertaining to the issue. Private players in the state, represented by the Andhra Pradesh Private Nursing Homes and Hospitals Association, Andhra Pradesh Speciality Hospitals Association, and the Aarogyasri Network Hospitals Association, have extended their support to the IMA in this regard.
In May this year, Tirupati’s Ruia Government General Hospital saw deaths of COVID-19 patients due to shortage of oxygen. Soon after the incident, the state government took up the issue of requirement of medical oxygen into cognisance, and mulled the revival of around 10 oxygen plants which were closed fully or partially owing to financial and other reasons.
Meanwhile, the state on Thursday recorded 2,107 new COVID-19 cases, taking its overall tally beyond 19.6 lakh, even as its active caseload rose to 21,279.
As the number of Covid cases continue to spiral in the state of Kerala, the IMA President Prof. Dr. J.A. Jayalal lashed out heaving at the Kerala Govt saying that reopening without a plan led to rise in cases. Batting for starting schools again again, the IMA president said that ‘schools should be opened in a graded manner’. Here also he hit out at the Kerala Govt saying that had the state acted responsibly and ‘started opening up gradually, the situation would have been better’
Notably, IMA has already called Kerala government’s decision to ease COVID-19 restrictions on the occasion of Eid al-Adha or Bakri Eid as ‘unwarranted’.
In an exclusive interview with Medically Speaking, the IMA President claimed that the Kerala government was adamant on opening the schools and relaxing covid restrictions which lead to thousands of cases and hundreds of deaths in the state.
He further added that the massive shortage of vaccine is a result of the lack of planning on the part of the state & Central government. On the thirdwave he said “I do not agree with the prediction that the third wave will have a disastrous effect. I am confident that the third wave will come. The way in which we have taken up the vaccination drive, followed by the Covid appropriate behaviour and the natural immunity of the people- all these things will ensure that the third wave will not be as disastrous as the second wave,”.
Following are a few snippets from the interview:
The IMA has time and again warned the central and state governments. You told the Kerala government not to go ahead with the bakr eid celebrations. What will be your first reaction to those state governments and people who are going ahead with festivities thinking that the second wave is over and we have a short window to celebrate?
Prof Dr Jayalal: Democracy always leads by popularity. During the pandemic, the health of the people is of utmost importance. The IMA plays a major role to tell what is right and how the people should mend their ways to ensure safety and security in the country.
What do you say about the Kerala government? The IMA government asked them to not go ahead with the bakr eid celebration. Also, the number of tourists in states like Himachal Pradesh have peaked in the past few days. What do you think the state governments should do and where are they lacking?
Prof Dr Jayalal: It is the duty of the government to tell the people what to do. Unfortunately, the Kerala CM was very adamant on opening the schools and relaxing the Covid restrictions. This led to 17,580 cases and 138 deaths in Kerala. India is a federal structure. We cannot allow one state to go according to their whims and fancies. That is going to have an impact on the entire country. That is why we are asking the government to come forward to curtail these cases. The cases are increasing day by day. That is why the IMA is asking the people and governments to mend their ways.
Do you think that schools should remain shut for the time being?
Prof Dr Jayalal: We need to exclusively plan about reopening the schools. People should not come in crowds. They should maintain social distancing, wear masks and follow the vaccination protocol. The schools should not be kept closed for a long time as it can have a psychological impact on the children. We will advise that schools should be opened in a graded and sustained way. The schools need not be open on all five days. The students can be called for just two days.
Children have been silent carriers of Covid in the last wave as well. How important is it to vaccinate them? Where are we when it comes to vaccinating the children in our country?
Prof Dr Jayalal: If the parents and the adults of the family are vaccinated and masking is practised then Covid will not have a disastrous effect on the children.
Where do you see we are months from when the drive started? Many experts feel that we would not be able to vaccinate the whole population of the country by the end of the year. What will be your reaction to that?
Prof Dr Jayalal: On June 21, India proved that 8.8 lakh people were vaccinated. That means that we have the capacity to vaccinate upto ten million people. Secondly, the country needs to have a sufficient supply of vaccines.
Where are we lacking? Why such a massive shortage of vaccines?
Prof Dr Jayalal: We are lacking because the government did not plan on how they would be going with the vaccine production. They were just depending on two companies which had a limited capacity. They can make 2.5 or three million vaccines. That does not meet the needs of the ten million people. We are taking a lot of time to import the Sputnik vaccine, although the permission has already been given. In Tamil Nadu, a big nine hundred crore vaccine unit is idle. If the government was really interested, they would have worked some ways by which the vaccine production would have augmented. But we are ready to support the government and before 2021 we plan to vaccinate the complete population.
When we speak of shortage of supply, we have seen a great tussle between the state and the centre. Similar tussle played out when the Centre said that ‘no deaths have been reported because of lack of oxygen supply’. How would you react to the politics happening around it and to the statement that ‘no deaths happened due to the shortage of oxygen’ ?
Prof Dr Jayalal: What the mind does not know, the eyes will not see. That is what is happening with the Honourable Health Minister today. He has said that none of the states have given an official report about deaths due to shortage of oxygen, so he is not wrong on his part. This is the most painful thing during Covid. There have been so many doctor deaths but the government has no official data about their deaths.
Many doctors say that the third wave is impending. Some say that it is already here. Where will you say India stands when it comes to the third wave?
Prof Dr Jayalal: I do not agree with the prediction that the third wave will have a disastrous effect. I am confident that the third wave will come. The way in which we have taken up the vaccination drive, followed by the Covid appropriate behaviour and the natural immunity of the people- all these things will ensure that the third wave will not be as disastrous as the second wave. I expect that the number of cases will be lesser than projected. The mortality rate will also be less because we have augmented our infrastructure, manpower and the resource material. When we are well prepared to face the situation, we have nothing to worry about.
Do you think we are well prepared?
Prof Dr Jayalal: In comparison to the second wave, we are well prepared for the third wave. We know our faults and gaps now. Those gaps have been filled up. Unless the virus is arrogant with us, we will sail safely through the third wave.
“It is not wise for an Intern trained in modern medicine to partake and practise a system of medicine which he has not mastered in under graduation with know-how and show-how paradigms,” the IMA wrote in a letter to the National Medical Commission (NMC).
“And coming to do it in an internship right away is dangerous to the public and the system,” the IMA writes in a letter dated Thursday.
Referring that AYUSH and its components are vast subjects, the IMA said “working there for a week the intern will not learn any new skill, and there is no clarity who shall be their mentor, and will they be assessed by NMC faculty norms or not”.
“IMA fully opposes the inclusion of one-week exclusive elective posting which is contrary to the established norms, superfluous and an attempt to initiate mixopathy. IMA strives for purity of profession.”
The IMA said it appeals to delete Section 4.3 (17), which says exclusive elective posting of one week in any one of the AYUSH medicine available in the medical college to be given as a mandatory elective posting.
The IMA submitted seven-point observations with a firm request to the NMC to delete section 4.3 (17) and do necessary corrections for the other comments placed.
Indian Medical Association (IMA) will lead a protest of healthcare workers on June 18 against the assault on healthcare professionals with the ‘Save the Saviour’ slogan. No hospitals will be closed. Doctors will bear a black badge, black mask, or black shirt: IMA President Dr JA Jayalal.
“Doctors serving in Covid wards have been beaten & brutally assaulted in Bihar, West Bengal, Assam, UP, and Karnataka. It is the responsibility of govt to ensure the safety & security of frontline workers who are working in a pandemic,” Dr JA Jayalal said.
“We demand that govt bring a central protection law with provisions under CrPC & IPC and also ensure that all govt and private hospital have a mandatory security structure,” the IMA President added.
The Uttarakhand unit of the Indian Medical Association has opposed the inclusion of Patanjali Ayurved’s Coronil in the Covid-19 kit of the Uttarakhand government. The doctors’ body said Coronil is not approved by the World Health Organization; it does not either have any approval from the Drug Controller General of India of Ayush as a medicine. “Coronil is however recognised as a food supplement by Ayush Vibhag of central government and is not a drug or medicine as claimed by Baba Ramdev on National TV on hourly basis advertisements” Dr Ajay Khanna, state secretary of IMA Uttarkhand wrote to the chief secretary of the state.
This “retaliation” comes at a time the association is at loggerheads with Ramdev over the yoga guru’s disparaging comments on modern medicine. The controversy has been going on and the IMA filed complaints against Ramdev and sent a legal notice to Patanjali Ayurved.
Amid this ongoing tussle, it has been reported that Patanjali has proposed to add Coronil as part of Covid-19 kit in Uttarakhand. This is medically wrong, the IMA said as this will result in a mixing of allopathy and Ayurved, the IMA said.
“Addition of Coronil with allopathic drugs shall amount to mixopathy that is a cocktail of Allopath and Ayurved which is not permitted as per the rulings of the honourable Supreme Court. Apart from the Apex Court, several high courts of various states have also ruled that mixopathy is not allowed,” the IMA said.
The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has served a defamation notice on Ramdev for alleged disparaging remarks against allopathy and allopathic doctors, demanding an apology from him within 15 days, failing which it said it will demand a compensation of ₹1,000 crore from the yoga guru.
The six-page notice served on behalf of IMA (Uttarakhand) secretary Ajay Khanna by his lawyer Neeraj Pandey describes the remarks by Ramdev as damaging to the reputation and the image of allopathy and around 2,000 practitioners of it who are part of the association, reported National Herald.
Terming the remarks of the yoga guru a “criminal act” under Section of 499 of the Indian Penal Code, the notice demanded a written apology from him within 15 days of its receipt, or else a compensation of $1,000 crore will be demanded from him at the rate of $50 lakh per member of the IMA.
The notice has also asked Ramdev to make a video clip contradicting all his false and defamatory allegations, and circulate it on all the social media platforms where he had uploaded his earlier video clip levelling the allegations.
It has also asked the yoga guru to withdraw a “misleading” advertisement from all platforms endorsing “Coronil kit”, a product of his firm, as an effective medicine for COVID-19, failing which an FIR and a criminal case will be lodged against him by the IMA.