Hyderabad: A recent survey covering 330 postgraduate medical students from three colleges and 323 dental students from five colleges in the city, shows them to favour re-evaluation of the government policy on compulsory rural service.
The survey report is titled ‘Compulsory one-year rural service – Stance of interns and postgraduates of medicine and dentistry in Hyderabad City, Telangana: A cross-sectional survey’, was carried in the Journal of Indian Association of Public Health Dentistry this month.
In the report, though nearly 65 percent of medical students and 60 percent of dental students acknowledged the benefits of rural service saying that it helped in improving their professional and decision-making abilities; others (60 percent) however, were of the view that the rural service stint is reduced from one year to six months.
Dr G Srinivas, Advisor, Telangana Junior Doctors Association (TJUDA), told the New Indian Express, “There is a need for a rethink of the one-year rural service policy. Most of the 1,200-odd PG students in TS do one-year service in tertiary care hospitals in Hyderabad and a few other districts and just about 200 work in area hospitals.”
“This is helpful mainly to those students who plan to pursue a career in teaching because as per the new norms of Medical Council of India, only those who have served as senior resident doctors for a minimum of one year are eligible to apply for the post of assistant professor. Instead of forcing everyone to undergo the one-year compulsory rural service the government can make it optional so that only those who have interest in it can apply for it. These students can be paid a higher stipend.”
In 2016 meanwhile, compulsory rural service for under-graduate MBBS students was done away with by the state government. Health Minister, Dr C Laxma Reddy in an assembly address in March 2017, said that roughly`60 crore was being spent every year on the stipends being given to PG medical student who did not even performing their duties efficiently.
The survey’s 37% interviewed suggested that rural service could be made attractive to PG students by bringing about an increase in the number of casual leaves. While another 73 pc have recommended a stipend hike as a measure to attract more to rural service in various areas of the country reports TNIE.