Foreign medical graduates unamused by medical body’s offer

- May 12, 2023
| By : Muhammad Tahir |

National Medical Council has increased the number of colleges offering internship to foreign-returned graduates. However, students criticise lack of clarity

DEMAND: Foreign medical students demand more seats for themselves after the National Medical Council restricted the quota for FMG interns to 7.5%

Despite National Medical Commission (NMC) nominating certain recognised non-teaching hospitals for one-year internships exclusively to foreign-returned medical graduates (FMGs) and increasing the number of colleges for such internships to 21 from 12, many students remain dissatisfied.

The announcement, made on Wednesday (May 10) through a circular, however promises a little relief for thousands of students who have a foreign medical degree but have been waiting to start internship for over a month now.

But a lack of clarity remains.

A female student, who requested anonymity, told Patriot, “Although they have increased the number of hospitals from 12 to 21, there is no mention of 7.5% quota (hospitals are not allowed to give more than 7.5% of their internship seats to FMGs according to the earlier circular). Whether it is still valid or not. It is also not clear if all these hospitals will accept FMGs [since it is at their discretion]. NMC has stated that anyone can do internship in any state but most of the states are already done with counselling. So how will they give spots to students from Delhi?”

The student complained that these non-teaching institutes can offer Compulsory Rotating Medical Internship (CRMI) only for one year, till May 2024, while there are a number of students who have to do internship for two years.

The student, who has completed her degree from Yerevan State Medical University, Armenia, said further, “Till now one non-domicile was accommodated in Delhi for every five Delhi domiciles. [But] will this ratio still persist? Also, they have made stipend negotiable. State & institute can decide whether to give it or not. If yes, then how much stipend should be paid to the students.”

The student also demanded clarity on the criteria and fees.

“A number of private colleges have been added to this list but we still don’t know if they will charge any fee from students. We also don’t know how will we be allotted seats in these hospitals? State medical colleges will allot but the criteria are still not clear,” she added.

The latest FMG result was better than previous years’ and around 9,000 students qualified through this exam. So, more seats were needed but instead, the NMC allowed state authorities to restrict the intake to 7.5%, leaving many students worried. Many of them across states have been forced to protest.

Another FMG student, who graduated with an MBBS degree from the Philippines, said, “The day after NMC issued the notification regarding internship, three students held a meeting with Delhi Medical Council (DMC) secretary Dr Tyagi. The meeting was fruitful. He said that we will hold a meeting with deans of the hospitals in Delhi and will tell you the total number of vacant seats by Monday.”

He said further, “The secretary said that the earlier list of vacant seats [on April 26] in the hospital stands invalid since it was wrongly released. In that last list comprising 42 students, only four students managed internship. Barring Hamdard, which took those students in, all medical colleges refused to take the students.”

A student, who studied in China, had recently contacted Patriot and complained that she had gone to Lady Hardinge Hospital with her all documents only to be turned away. The hospital authorities refused to take her in and said that there was no seat available.

However, All India Medical Students’ Association (AIMSA), which is one of the largest medical students’ organisations of India, welcomed this circular of NMC.

They quote-tweeted the NMC’s post about the circular, “Most of the issues of FMGs have been resolved. Hope the remaining will be sorted soon. Thank you everyone who supported us. @dr_arunkgupta @DalmiyaDr @GirishTyagiDMC @FAIMA_INDIA_ @official_aimsa @FordaIndia @drsfaizanahmad @DrRohanKrishna3 @DrJitendraAIMSA & All the Tenacious FMGs (sic).”

It should be noted that several FMGs students have been raising their voice for many months against the unavailability of seats for their CRMI despite qualifying through the screening examination, as Patriot had reported on April 30.