Plea hearing on FMG CRMI postponed by two months, causing further distress

The FMGs have been protesting against the NMC's decisions regarding CRMIs for FMGs since November. They are hoping for some leniency in this regulation that they call “dauntingly unfair”
Pic: EdexLive
Pic: EdexLive

The plea hearing regarding the Compulsory Rotating Internship Training (CRMI) for Foreign Medical Graduates (FMGs) has been postponed from March 15 to May 5, causing distress among the FMG doctors. The decision came on March 11 and has ignited an uproar amongst the FMG community. Dr Shahroz Khan, an FMG took to Twitter and wrote, “Already because of this decision FMG's are in loophole since last 5 months, again delay in this is yet another injustice, instead of relaxation it's getting delayed #StopTargettingFMGs.”

The FMGs have been protesting against the NMC's decisions regarding CRMIs for FMGs since November. They claim that the revised measures for the CRMI are "unethical" and "dauntingly unfair" and have left them in a fix. According to a notification issued by the Under-Graduate Medical Education Board (UGMEB) - National Medical Commission (NMC), students who completed their medical degrees from their respective foreign universities and qualified for the FMGE on or before June 30, 2022, would have to undergo CMRI for two years.

FMG Dr Senthil Kumar explained that the issue began in 2021 when doctors who had cleared the FMGE applied for internships. "The Chennai High Court directed the Tamil Nadu Medical Council to add two extra months to their 12-month internship to compensate for the online medical education they received during the pandemic," said Kumar. However, in 2022, the NMC regulated that all FMGs who attended online classes must complete a two-year internship instead of one year in all states.

The NMC cited that these students completed their degrees by taking online classes and did not have a clinical practice. Thus, to make up for the loss of training, they would have to opt for two years of CMRI instead of one. The notification added that the NMC did not recognise the online classes and had only validated them due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has further irked the FMGs.

"We are hoping for some leniency in this matter. Even a psychiatrist has stated that the 2-year internship is meaningless because it only covers the basics," said Dr Shahroz Khan. "Furthermore, the internship is unpaid, and everyone wants to become self-sufficient as soon as possible. Medical education is already very time-consuming."

Dr Khan also reminded us that in the last couple of months, some students have already completed a portion of their internships. “Seven months is already lost and another extended court hearing has made them feel as though their fight is futile,” said Khan. Further, Dr Khan said if a resolution is not reached soon, the newly qualified FMGs will also find themselves in an uncertain situation. “They are already confused about what awaits them in the internship. Many would rather complete their internships in China, where it only takes one year than spend two years here,” he added. 

Both Dr Kumar and Dr Khan agree that the decision to extend the CRMI is already anxiety-inducing and further the continuous postponement of plea hearings is only adding to it. "Everyone was looking forward to some relaxation from such an unfair retrospectively imposed rule, but instead, the hearing has been postponed. It seems like the system is playing games with us,” said Dr Khan. 

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