Tiruchi branch of the Tamil Nadu Medical Students Association has strongly opposed the Union Government’s move to introduce a three-and-a-half-year Bachelor of Rural Medicine and Surgery (BRMS) programme.
Members of the Tiruchi branch, representing the students of the K.A.P.Viswanatham Government Medical College in the city, said though the move was ostensibly aimed at overcoming the shortage of specialist doctors in rural areas, it would only result in bringing down the quality of rural health services besides adversely affecting the prospects of the MBBS graduates. The students claimed that in many countries the basic graduation in medicine was of six-and-a-half years duration. Students could hardly qualify themselves by undergoing a basic degree for just three-and-a-half years, they contended.
Addressing a press conference here on Wednesday, R.Jayaseelan, coordinator of the association’s Tiruchi branch and G.Ramesh, secretary of the House Surgeons Association, said in Tamil Nadu about 6000 to 7,000 doctors were competing for the 300 to 400 vacancies arising in the Primary Health Centres in the State annually. There were over 7,000 doctors who were awaiting employment after registering themselves in the Employment Exchanges. With the State government opening more medical colleges in many districts, the number of MBBS graduates would increase in the coming years.
The country, they claimed, were facing an acute shortage of only specialists. There cannot be a situation, while specialists were serving in urban areas, the rural areas were served by persons holding BRMS degrees. This would amount to treating rural people as second class citizens, they charged and appealed to Chief Minister M.Karunanidhi not to allow the introduction of the BRMS degree programmes in Tamil Nadu. They also appealed to him to increase the number of seats in the post-graduate medical programmes and appoint all doctors registered with the Employment Exchanges for vacant posts in rural areas.
The students also demanded that the government discontinue the practice of Admission Day in government hospitals. For, post-graduate students and house surgeons were being deployed on duty for long hours in the hospitals.
To register their protest against the introduction of the BRMS programme and to highlight their other demands, students of medical colleges in the State would attend classes wearing black badges, they said.