This refers to the editorial page article (“Doctors by merit, not privilege,” June 26). India is a country where people often treat doctors as “gods.” But commercialisation of this profession with the “wealthy before worthy” theory has rigged the god-disciple relationship. The whole admission process spells poor quality. It wouldn’t be incorrect to say that they “paid to be gods.” The Medical Council of India’s entrance test must be adopted as the sole qualifying requirement.
The multiplicity of regulatory authorities should be avoided. In its place, a National Commission on Education and Research (NCHER), with constitutional powers, and accountable to Parliament, must be constituted to curb rampant corruption in the regulatory sector. There must be a national policy to promote higher education based on merit only with the usual relaxation to the SCs/STs, as provided in the Constitution.
With education being a lucrative business, let the medical field be spared. The skills of a doctor cannot be bought with money. A surgeon needs to have pristine precision as this is one profession which has the ability to save lives. We need doctors by merit and not through riches.
Constituting a board by nomination from retired and politically influential bureaucrats and practitioners might prove to be disastrous. The ideal method would be to stop or reduce the number of nominations by the Central and State governments. The elected member will have a responsibility to the profession and its members. The only modification required is to reduce the term of the Executive Committee to two years instead of five and not more than two consecutive terms for president.
Dr. Varghese Mani,
I quote from a newspaper article on the subject that appeared in 2004: “The need of the hour is to streamline the existing government medical colleges. Limit the number of seats to 400. Take the best talent and train them at society’s cost. Remunerate the doctors adequately. The self-financing medical colleges threaten that they might wind up. Let them. They will be doing a service to society.”
There are a number of government medical colleges which suffer for want of enough teaching staff. During official inspection, faculty from neighbouring medical institutions are brought on deputation for a few days just to manage certification. The situation is equally bad in private medical colleges. It is not surprising that students seek medical education in places like China and Ukraine.
The mushrooming of medical colleges and getting seats on the basis of capitation fees amount to playing with life. Everyone should be made to sit for a common entrance exam like the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) to get into medical colleges. USMLE is a three-step examination for medical licensure and is sponsored by the Federation of State Medical Boards and the National Board of Medical Examiners. Each of the three steps of the USMLE complements the others, where no step can stand alone in the assessment of readiness for medical licensure.