'Lift bar on biomedical scientists signing lab reports'

The government barred the biomedical scientists from signing diagnostic reports in May holding that only registered doctors are eligible to do so. (Representative image)

A pan-India association of the bio-medical scientists has demanded that the central government must lift the bar on the persons with medical master of science (MSc) degree from signing diagnostic reports.

The National MSc Medical Teachers' Association (NMMTA) has also opposed the Medical Council of India's (MCI) recent proposal to drastically cut down the appointment of qualified biomedical scientists as teachers in the medical colleges and completely discontinue such recruitment after three years.

The government barred the biomedical scientists from signing diagnostic reports in May holding that only registered doctors are eligible to do so.

The executive committee of the MCI later in June proposed to reduce the recruitment of those with medical MSc degree/PhD in anatomy, physiology, pharmacology and microbiology as teachers in the non-clinical departments of the medical colleges from the current 30% to 15% of the total faculty strength and those with medical MSc degree/PhD in biochemistry from the current 50% to 25%.

“A massive propaganda and lobbying have made the MCI suggest the reduction in the intake of non-medical teachers and stop it after three years. Not only it will deny opportunities to those who are pursuing the course but will also eventually affect those in service,” NMMTA president Sridhar Rao claimed.

In the past 5-10 years, there has been a surge in the number of MBBS graduates taking up MD in the non-clinical subjects, resulting in the competition for the teaching jobs, he said.

“Non-medical teachers who upheld education for the past five decades are now not only unwanted but also deemed unsuitable. Non-medical teachers are alarmed with the MCI's proposal,” he added.

The MCI has formed a panel comprising three faculty members of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) to look into the proposal to drastically reduce the recruitment of biomedical scientists as teachers in country's medical and dental colleges, and completely discontinue such appointments later.

“What is more unfortunate is that while the reduction in appointments is still a proposal of the MCI, not a final decision, many of the medical colleges in the states have already started implementing it. They are not calling qualified medical MSc degree holders/PhDs for interviews,” he added.

Lamenting that the biomedical scientists in India are “most ignored” group in India though they have made significant contributions in research and teaching, the NMMTA president demanded that the government should consider setting up a separate council to regulate the biomedical courses and register biomedical scientists.

The government must also formulate a policy to engage these scientists and provide the necessary funds and ecosystem for research to thrive, he added.

“While the government seems to be promoting skill India, the trained and skilled biomedical scientists are being denied opportunities in their area of specialty just to accommodate one profession,” he charged. 

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'Lift bar on biomedical scientists signing lab reports'

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