Medical colleges to resume physical classes before Dec 1

NEW DELHI: Medical colleges may reopen and resume physical classes for MBBS students on or before December 1, whereas the new academic session 2020-21 is likely to have a delayed start from February 1, and the new PG session will begin from July 1, 2021, as per recommendations of new medical education regulator National Medical Commission.

Delaying a further re-opening of medical colleges could result in 80,000 fewer doctors after five years, official estimates show and based on the NMC’s suggestions, the health ministry has written to states and UTs stressing the need to resume classes at the same time across India in the interest of “standardisation” and in the best interest of medical education.

The PG-NEET exam would need to be scheduled around March-April 2021, NMC has suggested underlining that unless the current batch of interns completes their required clinical training, they would not be eligible to appear for the test.
“Further, the NMC has advised that a sufficient number of non-Covid beds may be made available in medical college hospitals to facilitate undergraduate medical training. The ministry has also obtained concurrence from the ministry of home affairs for reopening medical colleges in states and UTs,” health secretary Rajesh Bhushan wrote in a letter to state chief secretaries.
Medical colleges have been shut since the lockdown was announced in March.

Though online classes for medical students started when colleges were allowed to teach virtually, the new medical education regulator has raised concerns that if classes are not resumed, it will be a missed opportunity for medical students to learn about epidemic management. Besides, delaying the classes any further could impact the availability of doctors.

“The students today (would-be doctors tomorrow) should also be familiar with the inherent threats and opportunities in the healthcare system which they would eventually handle themselves. It should not become a missed opportunity for medical students to learn the skills of epidemic management as a public health professional,” the NMC said in a letter to the health secretary urging the Centre to issue directions to state governments to reopen medical colleges.

“Accordingly, the states and UTs may take necessary steps to open the medical colleges on or before December 1, 2020,” the health secretary said in his letter.

“Needless to say, all SOPs/guidelines with respect to social distancing and prevention of the spread of epidemic issued by Central/states and UT governments will be followed scrupulously by all the colleges,” he said.

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