GMC’s MBBS gets MCI threat

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After derecognising two PG courses at GMC Srinagar, the MCI has threatened to derecognise the basic MBBS degree of GMC Srinagar for deficiencies in faculty and infrastructure. Haroon Mirani reports.

With 141 vacant posts of professors and resident doctors and postgraduates teaching postgraduate classes, the absence of crucial laboratories and instruments, it is apparently a miracle that the Government Medical College (GMC) Srinagar is still considered as a medical college.

But miracles do not last long.

The Medical Council of India (MCI) has threatened to de-recognise the very basic MBBS degree of the college due to the shortcomings in the requisite standards.

Last year MCI had derecognised the PG departments of Ophthalmology and Dermatology vide order No. MCI-70 (22)/2009/Med/41702 citing reasons ranging from the absence of teaching faculty to lack of infrastructure.

The de-recognition was a big embarrassment as it came in the 50th year of college’s existence. The GMC Srinagar was established in 1959. It was one of the first Medical Colleges in India and was ranked among the top five for many decades.

In a letter, the MCI has threatening to derecognise the GMC’s basic MBBS degree if the “adequate teaching staff is not recruited and infrastructure is not created within the two months”.   Regarding derecognising the postgraduate courses of Ophthalmology and Dermatology the MCI observed that the medical college lacked proper teaching faculty.

The report said that there were 95 vacant posts of Junior Resident Doctors, 18 vacant posts for Senior Resident Doctors, 6 posts for Professors, 17 posts for Associate Professors, 23 posts for Assistant Professors and two vacant posts for Tutors.

“There is a shortage of 67.8 percent in residents’ category and 26.5 percent in teaching faculty,” said the MCI report.

On August 08, 2010, the MCI has set a deadline of two months for GMC Srinagar to rectify the cited deficiencies in the postgraduate departments.

However, the insiders at GMC say that the situation is much more worrisome than what MCI has recorded. There are also reports that GMC has gone back on its words given to MCI team.

The MCI team during their visit to the medical college were shown the full faculty with an assurance and declaration that the same is here permanently at least for next three years. But the situation turned something different after the MCI team left.

According to reports, the medical college has at least relieved four professors putting a number of departments in jeopardy.

The first to go was Dr Deepti Mahajan, a lecturer in the pathology department. She applied in Jammu wherein she got selected and was promptly relieved of her duties by GMC Srinagar. She left almost next day the MCI team left.

Dr Tandon, a lecturer in pharmacology too got selected in Jammu. He left in November 2009 and the GMC happily relieved him.

Dr. Ishaq Qadiri a professor in Haematology department was also shown as a permanent faculty member to MCI team. A retired person, he had been re-engaged by GMC to stop the haematology department from going defunct. After MCI team left, Qadiri too left and is now doing private practice. The department is in tatters.

Dr Mohammed Afzal, lecturer cum statistician was also relieved by the GMC and asked to go back to parent department. In case of 11 faculty members, MCI team found that three didn’t possess MBBS degree and rest were on deputation as Assistant Professors.

Ironically Afzal was the only lecturer who was recognised as the faculty member out of the total of 12 candidates. GMC Srinagar in their declaration had shown that Dr. Afzal and three others who have been relieved are in the GMC Srinagar upto 2011, prompting them to continue the recognition of the college.

As per MCI guidelines, every PG student must receive basic training of statistics which is mandatory. “But since long these training courses, as well as statistics exams, have not been conducted in the college since the new principal took charge,” said an insider. “This is tantamount to violating MCI guidelines.”

Appointing people on deputation as Assistant professors has also come under the scanner. According to MCI rules, GMC cannot appoint anybody as an assistant professor on its own. “At the most, it can appoint a lecturer and not an assistant professor as the latter is a separate grade,” said an official.

The MCI report points out that the college doesn’t have lecture hall cum seminar room beside delivery services, central workshop, computerisation facility for services like OPD registration, bowl sterlisers, glove inspection machine and instrument washing machine in central sterlisation department.

The MCI report observed that there is no separate accommodation available for resident doctors, who are provided space in already cramped undergraduate and postgraduate hostel.

MCI has come down heavily on the size of classrooms which according to it can accommodate just 30 students. “Actually the classes were built decades ago when need was limited,” said a doctor. “But now when the annual intake of students has grown to 100, the classrooms have not been accordingly upgraded.” Same remarks have been reserved for small size laboratories.

Principal Government Medical College Srinagar Dr. Shahida Mir denied that the classrooms were too small. “MCI has not got it right. Our classrooms are quite spacious,” said Dr. Shahida.

The government medical college Srinagar has 22 PG departments and only six departments are recognised under MCI. These include Medicine, Surgery, Psychiatry, Orthopaedic, Paediatric and ENT.

Dr. Shahida agreed that it was a serious situation and that the authorities have taken immediate steps for its redressal. “We have started recruitment drive on war footing and have presently finalised 50 lecturers,” said Dr. Shahida. “We are also appointing retired doctors and experts from outside for the vacant posts and also upgrading laboratories and other equipments.”

Dr. Shahida is also going to New Delhi to meet Union Health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and MCI officials. “We will get this issued (re)solved soon,” said Dr. Shahida. “We are also sending a proposal to state cabinet by virtue of which we will be able to fulfil all of our requirements.”

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