New Delhi: Striking Senior resident doctors and medical students of top Delhi hospitals, including AIIMS, called off their agitation on Thursday after Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad made it clear that there is no proposal to extend the duration MBBS Course.
To the relief of the students, the Minister also said rural posting will not be mandatory for those appearing in PG examination for the year 2015-16.
An official press statement issued by the Health Ministry stated, "Health Minister, Ghulam Nabi Azad, met with the representatives of agitating medical students here today.
"He listened to all their concerns patiently and allayed their fears regarding Medical Council of India (MCI) Notification in respect of one year mandatory rural posting of PHC after completion of MBBS, before they seek admission to PG Course. The Minister has directed concerned officials of the Ministry to keep the Notification in abeyance."
A letter to this effect has already been issued to the MCI, the release said.
"Setting at rest all speculation that the period of MBBS course has been extended by 2 years, he made it clear that there is no such proposal. "He also stated that rural posting will not be mandatory for appearing in PG examination for the year 2015-16," the statement said.
Doctors from AIIMS, GTB hospital, Safdarjung hospital, Maulana Azad Medical College (MAMC), Lady Hardinge Medical College, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya and RML hospital and medical students had demonstrated outside the health ministry's office at Nirman Bhavan, demanding revision of the proposed MBBS course structure.
The strike had led to the closure of OPDs in many of the hospitals, causing distress to the patients.
"We are not against rural postings, but we want the one- year rural internship to be included as a part of the curriculum either during the MBBS course or at the post- graduate stage and the MBBS course duration also should not be extended in future," said Dr Shashank Pooniya, general secretary of the Resident Doctors Association (RDA)of AIIMS.
The strike call was given after the police allegedly resorted to lathicharge and usage of water cannons when a few of the protesters tried to get past barricades yesterday. Protestors have alleged that during the lathicharge several doctors including women doctors were grievously hurt and had to be rushed to hospital.
The protest was against the health ministry's recent proposal for increasing the duration of MBBS course from existing 5.5 years to 6.5 years with an addition of a compulsory one-year rural posting for admission into postgraduate programmes.
Delhi's Health Minister Satyendra Jain also met a delegation of students and interns of medical college of NCT of Delhi, who complained of being mishandled by police when they proceeded toward Nirman Bhawan on the issue of proposed extension of period of internship for medical students. Jain has written a letter Ghulam Nabi Azad and expressed concern about the alleged use of force by police against the students.
"The action of police deserve to be condemned in strongest terms," a press statement issued by the health minister said.
"On the issue of proposed extension of period of internship as reported by students and interns, I would like to convey that the existing internship period of one year after four and half years of academic teaching is felt to be adequate and the said duration of one year should be maintained as such," Jain said.
"As regards to the issue of service in rural areas, to qualify for PG entrance examination, the Delhi government would like to support the proposed policy in the interest of the healthcare needs of people in rural and pre-urban areas. "However, this period of rural posting needs to be included within the duration of PG course itself..." Jain said.