Of doctors who return home
The move is not going to augur well for doctors
FEEDBACK BY DR. BASHARAT ALAM SHAH
This is in response to the new rule passed by the Union health minister G N Azad that concerns the Indian doctors who want to pursue their higher studies in the USA. The Indian graduates will now be required to sign a bond with the government of India that they will return to India immediately upon completing of their training in the USA and serve in their country for a certain numbers of years. Without signing such bonds the doctors will not be issued the No Objection Certificate which is required by the US department of labor in allowing the graduates of international medical colleges to train in the US hospitals. The doctors have been threatened by the minister that they will lose their practicing privileges back in India if they default their bonds. I am writing to express my thoughts on this issue and hope that my message will reach to the Health Ministry of India.
I think that the way the Indian ministers have interpreted this whole issue of 'brain drain' is irrational. Apparently they have based their decision on a shortsighted approach. They are worried about 3000 doctors who over the last 3 years have not returned to India from USA, but they are ignoring the fact that each year India is producing about 40000 doctors and the government is failing to provide all of them with adequate post graduate trainings and jobs. In Kashmir alone the joblessness amongst the medical professionals has grown to record high levels. Doctors have now started giving up their medical careers after completing of their MBBS courses and are going to other totally unrelated professions such as banking, businesses and administration. I fail to understand that if 3000 doctors were able to achieve something internationally why it has become a matter of national concern? In fact, the nation should be proud of these doctors as they will help maintain the image of their country internationally. Besides, and more importantly, these NRI doctors will potentially help fuel the economy of the country not only by bringing in the foreign money but also by sustaining the medical tourism industry that over the last decade has become one of the major sources of Indian economy. Most of the Indian hospitals that depend on inflow of patients from abroad and within, such as Apollo hospital, are structured around the availability of the NRI doctors who not only bring with them their sophisticated training, skill and experience but also help to create jobs and post graduate training programs in India.
It is also very important for the Indian ministers to know about the intricacies of the health care system in the USA before they pass any such laws. Any medical graduate whether American or international has the best chances of being hired by a US hospital immediately upon completion of his post graduate training. If he is not employed within a reasonable period of time, in most cases 3-4 months, his chances of being employed diminish dramatically with time thereafter. So if a doctor goes back to his home country only to return after few years it will be impossible for him to get hired by a US healthcare company. He will also stand no chance in getting accepted in to a sub-specialty training program or fellowships in the USA. Unfortunately, none of the hospitals in USA honor any clinical experience that doctors may gain outside of the United States after they graduate from the US hospitals. Therefore, this new rule of the Indian government will only make the US trained Indian doctors ineligible to work in the USA after they fulfill their bond obligations. They will lack the adequate post-training US clinical experience without which they will be least helpful even to their own home country. Again, I am afraid that this will directly and negatively impact the future availability of the properly trained and experienced American NRI doctors in India.
(Dr. Basharat Alam Shah is Consulting Physician Internal Medicine USA)
Lastupdate on : Tue, 1 May 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 1 May 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 2 May 2012 00:00:00 IST
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