Delay in NEET PG exams led to shortage of 45,000 doctors in the healthcare system: Experts tell Supreme Court

The exam was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the short-staffed workforce of doctors has been overburdened due to the COVID-19 pandemic
Picture of junior doctors strike for representational purposes only | (Pic: ANI)
Picture of junior doctors strike for representational purposes only | (Pic: ANI)

The delay in holding the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test - Post Graduate (NEET-PG) 2022 has led to a shortage of 45,000 resident doctors in the country when India's healthcare system is already overburdened due to the COVID pandemic, said experts. With the Supreme Court on Tuesday, February 8, asking doctors, mostly final year medical students, who had served as healthcare workers in COVID-19 wards, to approach the government for extending the May 31 deadline to complete their mandatory one-year internship process to make them eligible for the NEET-PG, experts and doctors said the medical workforce is working on one-third of its existing workforce due to central government's "mismanagement and policy failure."

According to Dr Rajiv Ranjan Prasad, a former member of the Medical Council of India (MCI) and dean of Aryabhatta Knowledge University, Patna in Bihar, which offers medical courses, "The delay in post-graduation admission is a bad sign for the health of the education of the medical world. The cycle has been disturbed because of this delay. It has taxed the medical profession, and the ratio between doctor patients has increased. Almost one year has been lost. It will impact two batches of PG students. This is going to add tremendous pressure on the teaching faculty also," he told The New Indian Express.

Dr Rohan Krishnan, President of Federation of All India Medical Association, said, "The delay in PG counseling has resulted in a shortage of 45,000 resident doctors, and we are seeing this at a time when the healthcare system is already under tremendous pressure as we are witnessing the third wave of the Corona pandemic. Apart from the shortage, the duty hours of the doctors have increased manifold. Some doctors feel so burdened that they talk about committing suicide."

"This is the first time when no PG medical admissions were completed since the counseling was put on hold," he said, adding that doctors also need mental and physical rest and are overburdened. According to Indian Medical Association (IMA) President Dr Sahajanand Prasad Singh, the delay in holding postgraduate medical examinations has affected India's healthcare system, especially in remote and rural areas where the doctor shortage is acute, especially of specialists.

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