Amid Covid crisis, PG students to continue as resident doctors
Amid the surge in Covid-19 cases, Baba Farid University of Health Sciences (BFUHS) has directed all medical colleges in Punjab to continue with the services of MD and MS students as resident doctors till fresh admissions.
The National Medical Commission (NMC) has issued a circular, asking PG students in medical colleges across the country to continue as resident doctors to help the healthcare system deal with the rising Covid-19 cases during the second wave of the pandemic.
No fresh admissions to PG medical and diploma courses were done in the state medical colleges due to the postponement of the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET-PG) exams.
More than 400 final year MS and MD students are working as residents in three government and four private colleges. Students of most PG colleges were roped in last year to augment trained manpower for the treatment of Covid and non-Covid patients.
BFUHS seeks to ensure that the present batch continues to serve as resident doctors to help deal with the Covid crisis until fresh admissions are made to PG courses and final year exams are held.
Dr Raj Bahadur, vice-chancellor of BFUHS, said that due to the surge in Covid cases, the NEET-PG exam was postponed, resulting in delay in the joining of new batches for postgraduate courses. “In order to ensure that there is no shortage of residents in handling the surge, all medical colleges have been asked to continue with the services of final year PG students as residents until the fresh batch of students join,” he said.
The post-graduate medical course exams have been stalled in the states due to the escalating Covid situation.
Tackling Covid the priority
Dr Ruhee Dugg, the BFUHS registrar, said: “While there are no classes for PG courses right now, we are providing online classes to MBBS batches.”
Dr Rajeev Sharma, the principal of Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital, Faridkot, said due to the rising caseload, all PG students, including 80 final year students, are performing duties at the college’s Covid wards.
“Tackling Covid is our priority so all other activities, including exams, stand postponed for now. Usually, the duty burden on PG students is decreased a month before their exams. But right now, they are performing duties round the clock to support the health system, so it is not the right time for exams,” he said.
Dr Jaspinder Pratap Singh, a final year PG student, said he has no problem performing duties for an extended period, but it should be counted under senior resident shift. “The bond period to serve as a resident doctor for final year postgraduate students will end in May, so the period we have to serve in June onwards should be counted under the senior resident doctor’s shift,” he said.
NEET-PG exams are generally conducted in February every year and the final year exams are held from April-May in Punjab medical colleges.