NMC, Health Ministry slams Bengal Govt for deciding to accommodate Ukraine returned MBBS students – Medical Dialogues

New Delhi: After the West Bengal Government declared its promise to accommodate Ukraine-returned medical students in the State medical colleges, the apex medical regulatory body in India, National Medical Commission (NMC) along with the Union Health Ministry have slammed the Bengal Government over this issue.
As per the Ministry officials, such an announcement by the Bengal Government violated the guidelines set the National Medical Commission, which had earlier clarified that in order to get registered for practice in India, the foreign medical graduates need to undergo their theory, practical education and also the 12-month internship at the same institute.
Last month, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had said that medical students who had returned from war-ravaged Ukraine have been admitted to various medical colleges of the state.
Banerjee had said, “Altogether 422 students have returned from Ukraine to the state risking their career. We had asked the Centre to allow us to accommodate them at different colleges. But the Centre said they cannot help them. They are asking the students to go to Poland and Hungary. How can they spend so much money again?” Of the 422 returnees from Ukraine, 409 are MBBS students, three are in a dental course and one is pursuing veterinary course. While six are engineering students, three are labourers.
Also Read: 409 Ukraine-returned MBBS students to resume studies in Bengal Medical colleges

“A total of 23 sixth year medical students will be allowed to undergo internship at government medical colleges as per norms. At least 135 students — 43 fifth year and the rest fourth year — will be allowed to undertake Observing seat at different medical colleges,” she had further added.

The Bengal CM had further announced that as many as 172 third year and second year medical students would be allowed to attend practical classes. Besides, 78 first year students who are qualified for the 2021 session would be allowed for counselling immediately at “our private medical colleges against the management quota seats for fresh admission.
However, this declaration on the behalf of the Bengal Government has been questioned by the Union Health Ministry and the NMC As per the latest media report by Financial Express, NMC officials have clarified that any decision regarding the Ukraine returned medical students needs to come from them. In fact, the officials have further clarified that Bengal Government did not seek permission from NMC before making the decision and even if the Ukraine-returned medical students undergo practical training in State-run medical colleges in Bengal, they would not be eligible for appearing in the FMGE screening test.
Medical Dialogues had earlier reported that last year NMC had released the Foreign Medical Graduate Licentiate Regulations 2021. According to the rules, No foreign medical graduate shall be granted permanent registration, unless he has undergone a course leading to foreign medical degree with minimum duration of fifty-four months.
Also Read: New FMG Regulations 2021 to change dynamics of MBBS abroad, here is how
On the issue of Grant of permanent registration to Foreign Medical Graduate, the regulations state that No foreign medical graduate shall be granted permanent registration, unless he has undergone MBBS course with fifty-four months duration, undergone 12 month internship at the same foreign medical institute, earned the Foreign Medical Degree in English medium of instructions, completed 12 month supervised internship in India, cleared screening test in India among others.
Therefore, the Bengal Government’s decision of allowing the FMGs to undergo clinical training in State-run medical colleges is contradictory to the rules spelled out by NMC. While commenting on the matter and when asked if the Bengal Government’s decision violated the NMC rules, the Director of Medical Education in Bengal, Debasis Bhattacharyya clarified to Financial Express that the State first increased the number of seats in the medical colleges and following that accommodated the students.
The war between Ukraine and Russia has put a question mark on the future of several Indian medical students, who are enrolled at different medical institutes in Ukraine.
Medical Dialogues had earlier reported that after rescuing the medical students stuck in war-hit Ukraine, now the Union Health Minister was contemplating the possible options for those students, so that they could complete their medical education in India.
Ultimately while considering a plea by a medical student from China, the top court directed NMC for formulating policy within two months in order to grant temporary registration for those MBBS graduates who have completed their medical education abroad but were unable to fulfill the requirement of practical training in their parent institutes outside of India.
The top court bench comprising of justices Hemant Gupta and V Ramasubramanian directed NMC, “i) to frame a scheme as a one time measure within two months to allow the student and such similarly situated students who have not actually completed clinical training to undergo clinical training in India in the medical colleges which may be identified by the appellant for a limited duration as may be specified by the appellant, on such charges which the appellant determines.

Barsha Misra has pursued her M.A in English and Culture Studies from the University of Burdwan, West Bengal. She likes reading,writing and exploring new places.
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