Thousands of foreign medical graduates (FMGs) clearing the screening testin India encounter difficulties in getting opportunities to do internships, which is mandatory to practice medicine in India.
In 2021, the National Medical Commission (NMC) notified that the foreign medical graduates will be allowed to do internships only in government medical college hospitals and reduced the reserved seats for them from 10% to 7.5%. On the other hand, they have to complete the internship within two years after passing the screening test.
The foreign medical graduates from Tamil Nadu form the largest group of students who clear the exam. There are only 230 seats reserved for internships whereas the number of students who passed is around 600. Many students have wasted five months in search of internship opportunities. NMC has not responded yet to the Tamil Nadu chief ministers request to allow the FMGs to do internships in government hospitals and streamline the internship process.
The medical graduates seek to study in the UK and the USA for the uncertainty and delays over NEET-PG exams and counselling in the years following the Covid-19 pandemic. Over 20,000 students take the screening testconducted in June and December every year. The passing percentage is between 10% to 25% which presents a sorrowful state.
To study abroad, the students have to first clear NEET and when they return they have to qualify for the screening test and undergo an internship for a year. Many top medical colleges do not allow FMG students to do internships and those who allow them do not have sufficient seats to accommodate the students.
Delhi, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu are the four states from which the maximum number of FMGs have cleared the screening test. The private hospitals charge considerable fees to allow internships. There are, however, vacant seats in other states althoughlanguage forms a decisive barrier to doing internships in other states. Some states like Gujarat and Maharashtra only allow students of their own states to do internships in the medical colleges of the state.
The time taken for FMGs to become practising doctors is about 7-8 years as time gets occupied in clearing the screening testand doing internships. However, a monthly stipend is paid to FMG interns but the process of practising in India is getting difficult day by day for them.
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Source: Times of India