Stressed and overworked, medical residents annoyed by delay in postdoctoral admissions

Resident Doctors Protest Delayed Postgraduate Admissions at Gandhi Medical College in Bhopal on November 29 | ANI

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New Delhi: A prolonged delay in postgraduate admissions has angered medical residents across the country.

They complain that they are understaffed because there are no new doctors on board, and they are mentally and physically exhausted from working with fewer hands during the pandemic.

The NEET postgraduate entrance exam for 2021 has been delayed twice, from January to April, then to September, when it finally took place. But now admissions have been delayed yet again.

This delay is due to the dispute over the revision of the income criteria for the quota of economically weaker sections (SAP) from the current upper limit of Rs. 8 lakh per year. The case is before the Supreme Court, which held hearings earlier this year. The next date is only January 2022.

In the meantime, the Center has decided to form a committee to determine the SAP criteria, which will take four weeks to file a report. This will delay the postgraduate physician counseling process by one month.

Vibhav Kanth, 27, one of the doctors involved, told ThePrint: “Postgraduates have to complete three years of junior residency to graduate. As a freshman, I have already spent 17 months instead of the mandatory 12.

“There is no freshman promotion this year because the NEET post-graduation exam has been delayed. We don’t know if we’re first or second year residents because we do the job of both, ”said Kanth, medical resident in the radiation oncology department at Aligarh Muslim University.

Read also : 3 hospitals managed by central Delhi suspend OPD services due to delay in NEET 2021 advice

Doctors stop OPD services to protest “uncertainty”

Doctors from several states, including Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Delhi and Telangana, have stopped services in the outpatient departments (OPD) to mark their protest against relentless delays and uncertainty in postgraduate admissions.

Kanth, one of the protesting doctors, said: “We stopped operations on November 29. Our intention was not to cause problems for the patients, which is why we made a false boycott for two days so that the administration could have staff replaced by proxy. “

He added: “But now that the Supreme Court will not consider the ministry’s reservation report until January of next year, we don’t know when the council’s results will finally be declared. If no solution is found, we have no choice but to continue our protest.

The delay in having the exam and completing the admissions process means hospitals across the country are operating with only two-thirds of their staff, protesting medical residents told ThePrint.

Doctors said mental and physical exhaustion from working through the two waves of COVID-19, and the fear of another to come, took their toll on them.

Resident doctors at Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital in Delhi gathered in protest on Friday morning and boycotted OPD wards, elective theater wards and wards to express their anger at the delay.

Atul Tiwari, president of the Hospital Resident Doctors Association, told ThePrint: “We are missing an entire batch of around 240 medical residents due to the NEET PG board delay. We have been working tirelessly for two years because of the pandemic. The pressure and mental exhaustion are immense.

“If no dialogue takes place between the ministries and the Supreme Court, we will be forced to intensify our protests and also close emergency operations,” he added.

Several Delhi hospitals have closed their OPD wards in protest, including Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital, Lady Hardinge Hospital, Safdarjung Hospital, Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital, Ambedkar Hospital and Hospital Dr Ram Manohar Lohia.

Standing in solidarity

As doctors in southern states have suspended operations in solidarity with medical residents across the country, doctors in Karnataka have gone on strike demanding an increase in state government pay. State Minister of Health, K. Sudhakar agreed to respond to their requests Friday.

Although this strike was called off, doctors at seven hospitals in Karnataka decided to suspend operations. They join the protest against the delay in postgraduate admissions, said Tejas, a doctor at the Vijayanagar Institute of Medical Sciences, Bellary, Karnataka.

He said: “Our demand for fair compensation has been met by the state health minister, but we are standing with doctors across the country on the NEET PG issue. We understand that the legal process will take time, but why not take the exam with the old reservation system until a decision is made? ”

ThePrint has contacted the Additional Director General of Medical Education, Dr Srinivas Rao, by phone and messages, but has yet to respond to questions.

(Edited by Rohan Manoj)

Read also : NEET UG results have a strong and clear message: ruling castes cannot continue old tactics

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