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MD mandatory for specialist doc posts

- Government decides to defy MCI norm of recognising PG diploma holders
Battling crunch: Danapur Hospital

The government has refused to recognise the postgraduate diploma holders for the job of specialist doctors in the state, charting a collision course with the Medical Council of India (MCI).

This is in contrast to the MCI’s stand, which recognises PG diploma holders and their appointment as specialists in different disciplines.

All states except Bihar and even central health services and the railways recruit diploma holders as specialists.

“The government’s decision has compounded the problem of shortage of specialists in the state, which has only 1,800 specialists against a requirement of 5,000,” said state Indian Medical Association (IMA) president Dr Rajiv Ranjan Prasad.

A two-year course after the five-year MBBS fetches one a PG diploma, while an MD degree can be obtained in three years.

The defiance against the MCI came into perspective from the additional health secretary-cum-spokesperson R.P. Ojha’s take on the issue. Ojha told The Telegraph: “It is not necessary to abide by every guideline issued by the MCI. We have advertised these vacancies as per our requirements. So it’s not necessary to go by the MCI rules every time.”

Till 2008, the state government used to accept the PG diploma for a specialist’s post. But this year, the government published two advertisements — first for the recruitment of 1,800 specialists and then for 700 specialists within a month-and-a-half span.

Diploma holders were not eligible to apply, as their qualification was not deemed fit for recruitment to the post of specialists.

This was in contrast to the prevailing rules as diploma-holders were being appointed specialists in nearly all the clinical branches such as paediatrics, pathology, gynaecology, anaesthesia, orthopaedics, ENT, radiology and radiotherapy except surgery.

PG diploma holders cannot be appointed medical teachers, which is reserved for those with MD degree in any discipline.

As a result, the state received only around 1,000 applications against a vacancy of 1,800 specialists. Nearly half the candidates could not apply owing to no relaxation in age.

Speaking on this, Bihar Health Services Association (BHSA) president Ajay Kumar said: “Delayed recruitment and inappropriate personnel policy has seriously jeopardised the input of specialist doctors in the Bihar health services. The government should act fast and decisively to remove this anomaly.”

The BHSA president added that it was surprising as to why the government has not accepted diploma qualification to be the criterion for the appointment of specialists as all other states do.

Ajay Kumar said: “The only difference between the diploma and the degree courses is that the former is of two years’ duration, while the (MD) degree course is of three years. One has to write a thesis for the degree course, while the diploma course has no such provision.”