Doctors protest outside JJ hospital over the delay in NEET-PG 2021 counselling and other issues, in Mumbai. (Photo: PTI)
Hyderabad: At a time when the third wave of Covid is staring at the country, posing fresh challenges, nearly 80,000 doctors would be missing in action due to inordinate delay in admissions into postgraduate courses.
While 40,000 doctors would have been ready by now to attend to crucial hospital duties as junior doctors, further delay in the admissions for 2021 will have an adverse impact on 2022 admissions, thus depriving the healthcare system of an equal number of junior doctors.
"It will be a great injustice to people if the PG admissions are further delayed because there is an unprecedented shortage of junior doctors in the country. Providing medicare for Covid patients, particularly in government hospitals, the lone destination for the poor, is increasingly becoming a challenge," said Dr N. Karthik, general secretary, Telangana Junior Doctors’ Association.
The admissions were put on hold by the Centre in October last year following an undertaking it gave to the Supreme Court in a case questioning the 27 per cent Other Backward Classes and 10 per cent Economically Weaker Sections quotas. During the hearings, the Supreme Court sought to know the rationale behind fixing an income ceiling of `8 lakh for EWS quota.
The apex court is likely to take up the next hearing on January 6 even as the Centre on Sunday made its stand clear in the form of an affidavit in which it defended the income ceiling and refused to change at this stage as it would further derail the admission process.
"There is always a question on how much is too much for fixing the income limit for EWS. As the Centre stuck to the present limit, the earlier the court clears the case the better," said Dr Ala Venkateswarlu, president, AP Medicos Parents’ Committee, who has been fighting for OBC quota in national level admissions in medicine and proper implementation of quota in the two Telugu states.
Normally, three batches of junior doctors form the core of hospital services. In the midst of the pandemic, first year PG students were totally missing in action while the third year students who would otherwise be busy with their final year academic commitments had to balance between the academics and hospital duties. "The second year students are the worst hit as they are getting totally exhausted," Dr Karthik pointed out.