The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Course revamp for better doctors

Concerned over the fall in standard of candidates joining the state health services in various government hospitals, the health department has decided to make it mandatory for all MBBS doctors to undergo a one-year housestaff course. A circular will be issued in his regard within the next few days.

At present, doctors have to undergo a rotational internship for a year in all the departments of a government hospital before post-graduation.

During this period, the doctors get a permanent registration number from the Medical Council of India, making them eligible for employment. A doctor becomes eligible to start his own practice after completing the internship.

“Over the years we have seen that freshers don’t have any clinical experience. So, we have decided to make it mandatory for new-comers to obtain the one-year housestaff certificate, which enables them to get jobs in the government sector,” said director of medical education C.R. Maity on Saturday.

However, any doctor willing to start private practice from the beginning will be exempted from the new rule. “These doctors are free to leave the hospital after their post-graduation,” Maity added.

In recent years, several cases of wrong diagnosis by fresh pass-outs have been reported in primary health centres and sub-divisional and district hospitals across the state.

“We believe that there cannot be any alternative to work experience, which can be gathered from a year’s mandatory housestaffship,” Maity maintained.

According to officials, the process of mandatory housestaffship was in place several years ago, but the rule was discontinued nearly 12 years ago.

“During the one-year internship, a doctor gathers only a general idea, switching from one department to another. The policy of rotational internship is inadequate as a new doctor does not get the required experience to treat a patient properly. We have been asking the government for several years to initiate a move to ensure that pass-outs have more practical knowledge when they start their career,” said S. Ganguly, president of the Indian Medical Association, Bengal branch.

In order to ensure that the candidates gather maximum experience during housestaffship, they will be allowed to handle critical cases under guidance from senior doctors.

“We have decided to give them more freedom during this period so that they don’t make mistakes while dealing with patients individually,” Maity added.

With the new rules likely to be enforced from the next session, doctors will be left with few options.

“We are left with no other alternative. Most pass-outs look for a government job to gather experience before they set out on their own. I, for one, had planned my career in this manner. This new rule is a bit harsh on students,” said an MBBS pass-out of National Medical College and Hospital.

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