December 10, 2009

Doctors, opposition slam West Bengal's Bill on 3-yr medical diploma course

The West Bengal government’s move to table a Bill to allow for a three-year medical diploma course in Bengal in the winter session of the state Assembly has failed to find favour with doctors who say it must not be an alternative to a four-year-MBBS degree.

State Health Minister Surya Kanta Misra, while refusing to discuss the details of the Bill, said it will be a three-year diploma course.

Satyajit Chakrabarty, secretary, Association of Health Service Doctors, said, “We want it to be made clear this is not a short-term medical course. Since this diploma will not be recognised by the Medical Council of India, they cannot write ‘doctors’ before their names and will not be allowed to hand out death certificates. There is a lot of confusion about it. We want clarity.”

He, however, said they were not entirely against the course since it could aid health care at the gram panchayat level.

“Those applying for the course should at least have a high school degree, much like the nurses’ training course,” said Chakrabarty.

Md Masiha, the chief government whip, said the state government had already drafted the entire Bill, which the subject committee has examined and submitted a report to the Assembly.

The state health department is likely to place the Bill in the Assembly on December 14 or 15,” said Masiha.

Meanwhile, Congress Legislative Party (CLP) leader Manas Bhuniya said the proposed diploma course was “unscientific and detrimental”.

“They did something similar around 10 to 15 years ago but the course had to be discontinued. How can the state government send people without MBBS degrees to villages to treat locals? This course will be illegal as it will not even have the recognition by the Medical Council of India (MCI). How can a person treat a patient without even the recognition from the MCI. There are enough village quacks...why does the state government want to increase their ranks,” said Bhuniya.

He said the Central government is already planning to address the issue of inadequate doctors in the rural sector.

“The central government is planning to introduce a Bill in the coming session of Parliament which will make it mandatory for all the MBBS pass-outs to serve in villages before they take up post-graduation,” he said.

Link: Original Article

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