Postgraduate medical students who have studied in private colleges whether in a government seat or private seat, are required to do one year of mandatory government service according to the requirement of the medical education department. However, some of them have gotten opportunities to pursue fellowships in super specialties but require a no-objection certificate from the health department exempting them from government service, which they’re not getting, despite providing an affidavit that they will come back and serve for one year.
The medical education department has said that unless the course is recognised by the National Medical Commission (NMC), such an exemption cannot be provided, leaving students stuck in the crosshairs.
For the first time since the Supreme Court verdict in August 2019, Karnataka began an online registration process in August 2020 for compulsory government service after PG medical courses. The medical education department had, last year, invoked the Karnataka Compulsory Service by Candidates Completed Medical Courses (Amendment) Act 2012, Section (4) for post graduates. According to this Act, one year of government service is mandatory for all medical post graduates admitted under any category in the state.
A 29-year-old postgraduate student from Vydehi Hospital got a fellowship in a private hospital in Chennai after the completion of her course. Her distraught father has been running from pillar to post at the health department hoping to obtain a no-objection certificate.
“She has to register with the Tamil Nadu Medical Council before pursuing this fellowship. However, for that she needs an NOC from the Karnataka Medical Council. For that, the Department of Medical Education or the health department have to sign off. But her course started on February 1, and even two days prior to that date we have not gotten the NOC,” the father told DH, requesting anonymity. He is a retired bank employee.
The 29-year-old student said, “It’s not just me, many of my batchmates are facing a similar problem. If we let go of such opportunities, we may not get a chance again to pursue such fellowships again.” She had got a chance to pursue a one year ophthalmology (retina vitreous) fellowship in Salem.
Dr S Sachchidanand, Vice Chancellor, Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, said, “This may not be permitted as it is not an NMC-recognised course. Such an exemption clause exists for postgraduate courses like Master of Chirurgiae (MCH), not fellowships that are not recognised by the National Medical Commission.”
Dr PG Girish, Director, Medical Education, said, “The students are fighting a case in the court but we are merely honouring a SC order that all students irrespective of government college students or private college students have to do compulsory government service.”