Junior doctors welcome PG rural service, seek better pay, facilities

Junior doctors welcome PG rural service, seek better pay, facilities

Karnataka Medical Students' and Youth Doctors' Association has welcomed strict implementation of compulsory rural service for postgraduate medical students, but not in its entirety.

From this academic year, one to three years of compulsory rural service will be implemented for students securing admission for post-graduate courses in government colleges or government seats in private colleges, a rule which existed but was not followed.

"Rural service will help tackle the shortage of doctors, particularly in North Karnataka. But, we often receive complaints that facilities for doctors to stay in these areas are not good. We have communicated with all UG students doing rural service to inform us if they face such issues," said Dr Jyothi, vice president of the association. Claims of insufficient facilities will be verified and the association will take it up with the government.

"Three-year period is a little too long for rural service. After about four and half years of undergraduate studies, we do one-year rural service before joining post-graduation. By the time we finish the PG rural service and try to set up our own practice, we will be in our mid-30s. We spend half our lifetime just studying," said Dr Jyothi. The association intends to discuss this issue with the government.

Further, Dr Jyothi said the stipend should be increased. "By the time they complete their PG, most doctors have families and the stipend of Rs 40,000 is too less to take care of everything. They are of the level of consultants in district hospitals who get paid between Rs 80,000 and Rs one lakh," she said.

Dr S Sachidananda, Director for Medical Education, said that bonds of one-year and three-year rural service will be offered to the students, depending on demand.

"We will have to look at the specialities with vacancies and take stock of the number and speciality of students passing out. In rural service, subjects of priority are paediatrics, gynaecology, surgery, and ENT among others," he said. A speciality with high requirement but fewer doctors may attract a bond of three years, he said.

On the contention that three-year period was too long, Dr Sachidananda said, "The government is providing them a heavily subsidised medical education and that is why we ask for three years of service."

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