New NMC rule requires PG students to work as full-time resident doctors for reasonable hours

"Subject to exigencies of work, post-graduate students will be allowed one weekly holiday," the new regulations states 
Here's what else the new NMC rule says | (Pic: EdexLive + NMC)
Here's what else the new NMC rule says | (Pic: EdexLive + NMC)

The National Medical Commission (NMC) has come out with new regulations which stipulate all post-graduate students to work as full-time resident doctors and for "reasonable working hours". As per the recently notified Post-Graduate Medical Education Regulations (PGMER), 2023, the students will be provided "reasonable time for rest" in a day, PTI reported.

Additionally, they will be permitted a minimum of 20 days of casual leave per year and five days of academic per year. "Subject to exigencies of work, post-graduate students will be allowed one weekly holiday," the new regulations which have replaced the Postgraduate Medical Education (Amendment) Regulations, 2018, stated.

Explaining this, the president of the Post-Graduate Medical Education Board of NMC, Dr Vijay Oza, said, "All these will reduce stress on students. Earlier there was no written provision of leaves." If a candidate avails leave in excess of the permitted number of days, his or her term of course shall be extended by the same number of days to complete the training period, the regulations stated.

However, one shall be able to appear in the examination if one has 80 per cent of the attendance, it added. Besides, the regulations stipulate that it will be mandatory for the college to provide appropriate residential accommodation to post-graduate students. However, it will not be mandatory for the post-graduate students to stay in the hostel.

New regulation
The new regulations stated that once a medical college is granted permission to start PG courses or seats, the course will be treated as recognised for the purpose of registration of qualification for students. "This will solve many difficulties faced by students to register their degree after passing their postgraduate examinations," Oza said.

"The new regulations will also clear the uncertainty that the students face on whether these courses will be recognised by the NMC or not," an official source said, PTI reported.

NEET-PG continues 
Moreover, the new regulations state that the existing NEET-PG examination will continue till the proposed National Exit Test (NExT) becomes operational for the purpose of PG admission. "The NMC after consideration of the comments and suggestions of various stakeholders and detailed in-house discussion unveiled groundbreaking reforms in post-graduate medical education, aimed at fostering quality, ethical practice, and inclusivity within the medical fraternity," said Oza.

"These reforms encompass various critical aspects of post-graduate medical training and aim to enhance the standards of education and practice nationwide," he said. Further, "Under the new regulations, the undergraduate medical college can start postgraduate courses from the third year now. Previously, it was from the fourth year in clinical specialities," Oza said.

Existing or proposed non-teaching hospitals owned and managed by the government can start post-graduate courses without having an undergraduate college. This will facilitate governments to start postgraduate medical colleges in smaller government hospitals/district hospitals, he said.

There will be a minimum standard requirement document which will prescribe requirements of infrastructure, faculty clinical material and so on for postgraduate institutes. "All students will have to undergo courses in research methodology, ethics and cardiac life support skills," Oza said. "For better implementation of these regulations, there is provision of a penalty clause which includes monetary penalty, reduction in number of seats (admission capacity) or complete stoppage of admissions," he stated.

The regulations continue to prohibit the migration of students from one medical institution to another. Additionally, seat reservations in medical colleges for various categories will align with the prevailing laws in states and union territories. Reservation of seats shall be as per applicable laws prevailing in states and union territories. About five per cent of reservations will be for candidates with benchmark disabilities, PTI reported.

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