IMA threatens agitation over bridge course proposal

The allopathic practitioners are up in arms over the NITI Aayog’s proposal to bring in a bridge course between the Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) and the MBBS allowing dentists to practise family medicine with the Indian Medical Association (IMA) threatening nationwide agitation, in case the proposal is taken forward.

The Central government noted that it was “trying to plug the shortage of doctors using the fact that the dental courses follow the same training and curriculum as the MBBS courses for the first three years.”

The NITI Aayog had earlier proposed a bridge course for Ayush (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy) doctors in the National Medical Commission Bill meant to replace the Indian Medical Council Act. Following pressure from the IMA, the course was rejected.

“It is a criminal offence to let dentists into mainstream medicine by just doing a bridge course,” said IMA president Dr. Santanu Sen. “The government is not able to generate jobs for medical graduates. 63,250 MBBS graduates come out of 494 medical colleges and we have only 23,729 post-graduate seats. Unemployment among medical graduates is a cause for concern, then how can government say that they will give jobs to dentists,” he asked.

Dr. R.V. Asokan, honorary secretary general of the IMA, said, MBBS graduates were not being absorbed into post-graduate courses. “The IMA demands that medical graduates be given their due, the health budget be flexed to include job creation and the government abandon their half-baked proposal to convert dentists, nurses, pharmacists and Ayush practitioners into mid-level medical practitioners. The IMA is left with no choice but to initiate a nation-wide protest against the move,” he said.