For raising the issue of lack of Medical Council of India (MCI) recognition for MBBS and MD courses run by the Government Medical College in Kottayam, a doctor in Kerala has had to pay a heavy price.
The doctor who was employed at the College was asked to put in his papers by the authorities as some people alleged that he had brought a bad name to the college. Dr Jinesh, who used to work as a lecturer at the College, resigned on October 5.
When a television channel asked him about the issue, he shared his concern which was aired. This apparently acted as a trigger for the college authorities to demand the doctor’s resignation.
Jinesh had completed MBBS and MD in Forensic Medicine at the Medical College. He was working as a lecturer on contract basis at the Department of Forensic Medicine from 2014.
“On October 5, there was an exam for MBBS students. The department head, who was on leave for several days, told me that the principal had called him up to inform that I was going to be sacked,” Jinesh said in his FB post on Wednesday.
Speaking to TNM, he reiterated his stand that he had planned to resign. “I called up the principal. His stand was that I had portrayed the college in a bad light on TV. I clearly told him, that was not my intention and what I did was to speak about the issue. When I told him that I had plans to resign, he asked to me to give the resignation so that there won’t be any complications. I then prepared the resignation letter and gave him. I didn’t try to defame the College,” Jinesh says. Medical College principal Dr Jose Joseph declined to comment.
Renewal of MCI recognition
The number of MBBS seats in the college was raised from 100 to 150 in 2007-08. The MCI recognition for courses has to be renewed every five years.
“When the MCI team conducted an inspection this year, they directed the college to rectify the drawbacks within a month or risk getting their recognition cancelled. From my understanding, it would take a few months for the Council to take the final decision regarding this. The college authorities have ample time to improve the infrastructure, fill up staff vacancies or buy enough journals for the library so that the recognition can be revised,” Jinesh says.
Another grave issue he points out is that some of the PG courses in the college also don’t have the Council’s recognition. The PG in Forensic Medicine course began in 2010. Dr Jinesh joined the course in 2011. In 2014, he started working as a lecturer in the subject on contract basis at the College.
“Not only for Forensic Medicine, but there is no recognition for four PG seats in General Medicine and for two seats each in General Surgery and Physical Medicine. When applications are called for lecturer posts, the government sets MBBS as qualification while the Medical Council stipulates PG as qualification for teaching posts in Medical Colleges. Courses should start with the letter of permission from the Council and the recognition needs to be granted based on the infrastructure and other facilities developed for the courses in due course,” he says.
Since there is no recognition for the PG course he has done, Jinesh like many other students, hasn’t been able to add that qualification in his CV which, he says, affects their chances of higher studies and getting jobs outside the state.
“The government has published a rank list of the lecturer posts with applicants who have only MBBS as qualification. It’s a setback for people like me who have done PG, because of lack of recognition for the courses. That was the reason for my decision to resign. Anyhow when the principal told me about the decision to sack me, I acted as I had decided earlier,” he says.
Jinesh along with some other doctors had approached the High court in November 2016, seeking to direct the College to initiate steps for MCI recognition. However, despite the court’s direction for the same, the College hasn’t acted yet and a contempt of court case has been filed.
“I have spoken on the issue since I am also a victim. Also I am worried about the students who are pursuing the courses now. I have always wanted to work in the government sector, to be part of initiatives which are useful for the general public. It is true that Kerala government hospitals are far better that that of the other states. But we have gone far behind from the ‘90s when the Kerala model of health was globally acclaimed, solely because of the lack of infrastructure,” the doctor says.