PUNE: Around 4,500 student doctors, who could not serve a one-year bond, will not be able to appear for the National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET) for the post-graduation courses. Doctors from the Indian Medical Association (IMA), Pune, expressed unhappiness about this compulsion. They said students will opt for further education in medicine outside the State or abroad.
The decision to sign a one-year bond for service at a rural hospital by students of government medical colleges was made mandatory by the Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER) before taking admission to post-graduation courses. Earlier, the bond was expected to be served at a flexible time. Dr Prakash Marathe, President of IMA Pune, said, “Students would be more than happy to serve the bond in rural areas, provided a seat to serve in a rural area is made available.”
“We worry if it is not, then it should not lead to delay in pursuing further studies for these students,” he added.
He said the medical students graduating from government-run colleges are made to sign a bond to serve at a primary health centre in a village for a year. This should be done within five years of obtaining their MBBS degree. If they fail to serve the bond, they must pay a penalty, which is Rs 10 lakh for an MBBS doctor, Rs 50 lakh for a post-graduate and Rs 2 crore for the super-specialty doctor.
However, the students appearing this time for the NEET PG will violate this bond as the DMER has made it mandatory now, just two months before the examination, said the agitated doctors.
“The retrospective effect of the notification is an injustice to the students of the batch of 2012-13. Such compulsions should also be made mandatory for the students from private colleges. The authorities seem to ignore that with such compulsion, the doctors appearing for PG entrance exam would prefer other states or foreign countries to obtain the higher degrees. This will be an overall loss for the State and the public health care system,” said Dr Nitin Bhagali.
Further voicing their concern, Marathe said if the government does not have enough vacancies to incorporate all these doctors, then we worry about how this will be implemented.
“We are not opposing the concept of serving in rural areas, but the fine, which would be imposed and the denying of higher education, if one does not complete the bond,” added Marathe.
SERVICE BOND MUST
- Medical students graduating from government-run colleges are made to sign a bond to serve at a primary health centre in a village for a year. This should be done within five years of obtaining their MBBS degree.
- If they fail to serve the bond, they must pay a penalty, which is Rs 10L for an MBBS doctor, Rs 50L for a post-graduate and Rs 2 cr for super-specialty doctor.