NEET should create a “Neat” system

Sigh of relief! Supreme Court’s decision to give NEET (National eligibility cum entrance test) a green signal is good. It’s not only about NEET but it’s about reducing the unethical practices of private seat allotments and rampant corruption in medical fraternity. Due to lack of proper awareness and information, the doctor scene is pitiful these days. People are so desperate to do medicine, they don’t even feel shame in such unethical ways, malpractices  and they even migrate to abroad to study  there because it’s cheaper in abroad than here. There is nothing to be proud about being a doctor in these ways. Infact it’s disrespectful and such medical practitioners are blot and hindrance.  About 77% Indian students with a medical degree in foreign universities in the past 12 years have failed to clear the screening test conducted by Medical Council Of India. It is indicative of poor standards of medical education in some foreign countries. India is the only country that authorises, as official policy, the sale of medical seats by private medical colleges, implicitly accepting the principle that the ability to pay, and not merit, is what counts. Further, in the absence of any system of third party certification by way of an entry or, more importantly, an exit exam — which could guarantee the qualities and competencies a doctor must possess before starting to practice — many medical colleges are producing quacks. The tragedy is that we all know about it.

The issue is not just about illegal capitation fees that range from Rs.50 lakh to Rs.1 crore for a MBBS seat. The process of admission is itself flawed with a walk-in system for those with money but for the others, it is a harrowing tale of expensive tuitions and writing 15 to 20 examinations across the country — a process that once again excludes and deters several.

As business

Archaic and outmoded rules, regulations and eligibility conditions requiring a capital base of more than Rs.150 crore have made the establishment of medical colleges a business proposition. Combined with no incentives for quality education, there has been a twofold impact: 1.commercialising the medical profession, where “recouping” the investment is the prime concern for the investor and graduating doctor alike; and 2. an aggravated shortage of doctors in three ways: 15 per cent of those in the Non-Resident Indian quota within the 50 per cent management quota do not practice in India; of the remaining 35 per cent, many do not practice, migrate abroad or establish themselves in cities for better incomes; and, poor training makes many “unemployable” as amplified in a provider survey. Clearly, the commercialisation of medical education is one of independent India’s biggest mistakes.

Therefore, the solution of “flooding the market with doctors by opening more medical colleges” to contain the menace of capitation fees without in the first instance, overhauling the regulatory framework related to quality of instruction, faculty development, better salary structures and banning private practice, etc has little merit.

[Pathetic: Doctors who graduated by paying hefty sum of donation have first goal to recuperate their investment]

These rampant malpractices are being carried out since many years. So, what about those Undeserving so called “qualified” doctors who have entered the medicine and healthcare?

Government should take a step to make doctors take a test every year to assess if they have updated their skills. Doctors who fail could be given a grace time of a year or two (and multiple attempts) to pass the test, failing which, their licence should be suspended.(Strictly)

There are no short cuts or easy solutions to what has become a highly political issue.

Any shifts in the status quo will be bitterly opposed, so deeply entrenched are the vested interests. But the time has come for the government to act as the acute shortage in human resources is the main barrier to achieving universal health coverage. The more the delay in addressing the critical challenges facing human resources for health on grounds of political expediency, the greater the social, political and financial costs this country will have to bear in the years ahead. Prudence lies in stemming the rot by decisive action and before it is too late.

Any person having degree of doctoral and who wears white coat should not be allowed in this profession. Screening is must. Regulatory authority must play critical role.

What happened to the conscience of people ? People are so blinded by their pursuit, that for their selfish motives and greeds they can risk lives of people by becoming a doctor. 

If NEET is implemented uniformly and few other measures are being taken strictly in this regard to improve the (quality) health of “medicine and healthcare.” There is some hope of victory. Only Merit should be the basis of medical admission, selection of regulators and medical fraternity.



Source : Majority of excerpts are taken from The Hindu (Sujatha Rao), Career India, blog-post -Decline in medicine and healthcare.