The proposal of the Indian Government to introduce a BDS & MBBS bridge course for enabling dentists to practice modern medicine in rural areas to deal with a lack of training of doctors has been strictly opposed by the Indian Medical Association (IMA). The proposal was previously approved by the Prime Minister Office (PMO) in early April 2019 in order to improve the state medical education in the country.
However, the proposal was condemned by IMA National President Dr Santanu Sen. He said
“There is no shortage of doctors in the country. 63,250 MBBS graduates come out of 494 medical colleges of India. India has only 23,729 post graduate seats. The fact remains that the Government does not have the capacity to absorb rest of them.” He added “Every year the unemployment amongst young medical graduates is a cause for great concern. The frustration of these youngsters with a decent undergraduate degree in medicine has to be addressed.”
Honorary Secretary General of IMA, Dr R. V. Asokan also criticized the notion of mid-level practitioners as it is an underdeveloped idea to provide improper medical care to the people. He said “Every allied profession to medicine have a unique identity and serves a specific purpose. Dentists, Nurses, Optometrists and Pharmacists have a role and should contribute their services in the respective fields. To baptise them as mid-level medical practitioners through a six months bridge course is being indifferent to the needs of patient safety and patient care.”
The Indian Medical Association also believes that the implementation of the bridge course and mid-level practitioners might result in agitating the citizens and patients across the country.