Foreign medical graduates seek 'intervention by Union Health Minister' to get registration issue resolved

DN Correspondent

The problem for these students started when they were forced to return to India during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read further on Dynamite News:

Representational Image
Representational Image

New Delhi: Foreign medical graduates (FMG) have appealed to the Health Ministry for intervention to get their certificate of permanent registration from the respective State Medical Councils (SMC). Without this certificate, these doctors cannot work in India, despite having completed their course and a subsequent one-year internship.

"We need urgent intervention by the Union Health Minister in this matter. We need permanent registration because without that we are not allowed to work or study further," a medical student who returned from abroad told Dynamite News correspondent.

According to some Media reports, over 3,500 FMGs, who have completed their courses from colleges in foreign countries and internships in India, have been running from pillar to post for the past several months to get themselves registered. Medical graduates cannot practice medicine or pursue higher degree courses in India without getting permanent registrations from their respective state medical councils.

The problem for these students began when they were forced to return to India during the COVID-19. After passing the Foreign Medical Graduates Examination (FMGE) and having completed their compulsory internship as mandated by the National Medical Commission (NMC) — as per the previous guidelines — a notice that was issued on July 28, 2022, was being enforced retrospectively, they complained.

However, as per some Media reports, Sarvesh Pandey, General Secretary of the Federation of Resident Doctors Association (FORDA), said there was ambiguity in the interpretation of NMC’s July 28, 2022 order by several state medical councils.

"While states like Gujarat, Telangana, West Bengal, Karnataka, Bihar, Assam, Uttarakhand and Orissa have allowed the foreign medical graduates passed in 2021 with one-year internship permanent registration, states like Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir and Delhi are implementing the order retrospectively," he added.

In the meantime, National Medical Commission released another notification on May 9, 2023. In this notification, a two-year internship was made mandatory for all foreign medical graduates from foreign universities. 

In this notification, the Commission has called two years of internship as necessary due to online studies during the Covid-19. But there are many students who have gone back to their universities, compensated their studies through offline mode, appeared in the exams and then got their medical or MBBS degree duly. After returning to India and passing the screening test of NMC, they have also completed a one-year internship. 

With their internship completed, many candidates started practicing as junior doctors. But now these FMGs are being asked to surrender their registration letter to the respective Medical Councils of states. These practicing doctors and those who have compensated their online classes with offline training in their respective colleges are facing lot of trouble due to the Commission's notification and the indifferent attitude of the State Medical Councils. 

The State Medical Councils are pressurizing such FMGs to do one more year of internship. If they do internship for one more year, their future and professional life goes back one and a half to two years back with innumerable challenges. 

Under these circumstances, the only hope for these FMGs is with the Union Health Ministry.

Therefore, the Federation of Resident Doctors Association has written to Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya to address the disparities in the permanent registration of FMGs post-internship by many state medical councils. (with Media inputs)

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