NMC allows foreign graduates to intern in non teaching for this year 1

NMC Allows Foreign Graduates to Intern in Non-Teaching for This Year

The National Medical Commission (NMC) has relaxed its norms for a year, allowing foreign medical graduates who have passed their screening test to intern at non-teaching hospitals. Internships at 679 designated hospitals across the states will be allowed till May next year. The relaxation was announced in view of some students – especially those who completed their training from China and Ukraine last year – having to do two year internship to fill gaps in their practical learning that was hampered due to the pandemic and the war.

The National Medical Commission on Wednesday issued a clarification stating that recognised non-teaching hospitals will be allowed to provide internship to foreign medical graduates up to May 2024. “This relaxation is granted only as one-time measure. The allotment of FMGs in these non-teaching hospitals shall also be done through concerned state medical councils,” said the circular.

The circular has issued clarifications for several things plaguing the allotment of internships to thousands of foreign medical graduates.

The “clarification” issued by the National Medical Commission on Wednesday states that the two-year internship will be applicable only to candidates who came back to India during their final year and completed their education online because of the Covid-19 pandemic or the Russia-Ukraine war.

The clarification states that students who require to do the two-year internship can choose to do their second year of internship from a different college or state.

With institutes also withholding seats because of no budgetary allocation to pay the foreign graduates, the NMC also clarified the implementation of a stipend will be at the “discretion of the concerned state authorities under which the medical college/ institute is located.”

In an effort to formalise the one-year compulsory internship – without which the foreign graduates cannot get a permanent license to practice in the country — the apex medical education regulator had last year mandated that the students intern only in medical college hospitals. The hospitals were asked to ensure that 7.5 per cent of their internship seats were given to foreign graduates, with those selected being paid stipend at par with the Indian interns.

Although well-intentioned, the move led to drastic drop in the number of seats available for internship to the foreign medical graduates. The internship seats are released only once a year while the screening-test for foreign graduates happens twice leading to long waiting periods for some. That coupled with the fact that many have to apply for the second year of their internship and a higher pass percentage during current round of examination has led to a huge backlog during placements this year.

Take for example Delhi, where over 2,000 applications came in after the January examination, but only 42 students managed to get the internship. What’s more, 31 of the students who were allocated an internship seat by the state medical council were refused internship by the hospital.

A 26-year-old student who completed her education from Russia last June and cleared the January screening test said, “Before NMC revised the guidelines last year, foreign medical graduates who passed the screening test could apply for a provisional certificate with the state medical council and apply for jobs with any hospital. Most hospitals did not pay the foreign graduates, but since the internship was needed to get a permanent registration most would go through with it. Now, the marks of the screening test are being used by the state councils to make a merit list, essentially making it a competitive exam. This is happening because the number of internships has become limited.”

The student added, “I have completed my education, I have cleared the FMG screening test that most don’t, and I have enough marks to make the merit list. I have jumped through all the hoops but I still don’t have an internship.”

Another 25-year-old student who also graduated from Russia last June said, “I am from Delhi and since I scored over 200 in my screening test I was confident that I would get an internship here. So, I did not apply in any other state. Now, there are hardly any seats left in Delhi because many of the hospitals said that they gave seats to students who passed the test in mid-2022. They said that their 7.5% quota was used up. This issue is creating a huge backlog of students.”

The students also said that the problem has been compounded because more people passed the current examination than the numbers that do usually – around 9 to 10 thousand instead of 2 to 4 thousand usually.

An official from Delhi added, “We have been facing heat for not providing internships to the students but none of the medical colleges were giving seats, mainly because now they had to pay stipend to the interns.”

Although the detailed “clarification” from the National Medical Commission that came on Wednesday solved the issue for now, the problem is likely to persist. The official said, “The internships will now have to be allocated within the month because even if it goes into June by a day, the students will not be able to complete their one-year period as the relaxation has been allowed only till May next year. In addition, there will be another batch of students that will pass the exam in June, where will we accommodate them?”

Courtesy : The Indian Express

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