Apr 06 2017: The Times of India (Mumbai)
The Medical Council of India (MCI) has been insisting that faculty teaching postgraduate courses in emergency medicine (EM) must have at least two years training in the field, knowing fully well that being a newly identified speciality, there is no way anyone could have been trained in the country in a recognised course. Thanks to this insistence, most medical colleges that started the PG course and students who joined them are being harassed by recognition being withheld. Colleges trying to start the course are denied permission too.
India being a country with one of the highest numbers of road accidents and the highest incidence of non-communicable diseases like cardiovascular ailments, lakhs of people land in the emergency department of hospitals every day. Despite such an urgent need for doctors trained in EM, the MCI's stance has put the brakes on adequate numbers being trained in this speciality.
In the meeting of its postgraduate medical education committee in June 2016, making two-year special training in emergency medicine an essential requirement for recruiting faculty was found to be “not feasible because these courses were not existing in the country earlier“. A sub-committee was constituted to suggest changes in the mandatory qualification.Even after admitting the absurdity of asking for a qualification that was not possible to obtain, the MCI continues to refuse recognition of this course on the same basis.
Queries sent by TOI to the MCI president and secretary on the issue received no response. The minutes of the postgraduate committee meetings show that the first colleges to get permission to start MD Emergency Medicine were BJ Medical College (on Dec 29, 2009) and NHL medical College (in February 2010) both in Ahmedabad, despite their faculty not having the required qualification.
With no `legitimate' EM training offered in India before it was recognised as a speciality in 2009 and faculty qualification being decided in December 2009, it was almost impossible for anyone to get the mandatory two-year training in EM needed to be faculty. Out of 51 seats under MCI jurisdiction, just six five in Gujarat and one in Karnataka, have been recognised till date.
The arbitrariness in the process of granting recognition is evident in how the MCI raises the issue of faculty not being trained in EM selectively. For instance, in August 2014, when denying recognition to the EM course in St John's Medical College Bangalore, this issue was brought up, but in the same meeting Medical College, Baroda got recognition through its faculty did not have training in EM as evident in the assessment form of the college in February 2014.
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