‘Medical interns for Covid duty’

New Delhi, May 03 (PTI): Seeking to augment human resources deployed in fighting COVID-19, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved a slew of measures, including postponing the NEET-PG for at least four months to make a large number of qualified doctors available for pandemic duty and pressing into service medical interns.
All such professionals who complete 100 days of duty will be given priority in the forthcoming regular government recruitment and also honoured with the Prime Minister’s Distinguished COVID National Service Samman, the PMO said in a statement on Monday. It said the services of final year MBBS students can also be utilised for providing services like teleconsultation and monitoring of mild COVID cases after due orientation under the faculty’s supervision.
Medical interns will work under the supervision of their faculty. This will reduce the workload on the existing doctors engaged in COVID duty and boost the efforts of triaging, it said.
It added that B.Sc. or GNM qualified nurses may be utilised in full-time COVID nursing duties under the supervision of senior doctors and nurses.
Those providing services in COVID management will be given priority in forthcoming regular government recruitments after they complete a minimum of 100 days of duty, the PMO said.
The medical students and professionals to be engaged in COVID-related work will be suitably vaccinated, it said.
“All such professionals who sign up for a minimum of 100 days of duty and complete it successfully will also be given the Prime Minister’s Distinguished COVID National Service Samman from the government of India,” it said.
States and UTs have been urged to consider the incentives suggested to maximise manpower availability, the PMO said, adding that they can make available additional health professionals engaged through this process to private COVID hospitals as well in surge areas.
These professionals will also be covered under the government’s insurance scheme for health workers engaged in fighting COVID-19.
The statement said the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test for Post-Graduation (NEET-PG) will be postponed for at least four months, and the exam will not be held before August 31.
Students will also be given at least one month after the announcement of the exam before it is conducted.
The decisions come a day after Modi held a meeting to review the human resource situation in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, which has put an unprecedented burden on the country’s healthcare facilities, and ways to augment it.
The services of final year PG students (broad as well as super-specialties) as residents may continue to be utilized until fresh batches of PG Students have joined, the PMO said.
The vacant posts of doctors, nurses, allied professionals and other healthcare staff in health and medical departments be filled through accelerated processes within 45 days through contractual appointments and based on national health mission norms.
As health is a state subject, state governments will play a key role in implementing the decisions and suggestions of the central government.
The PMO also noted that the central government had issued guidelines on June 16 last year to facilitate engagement of doctors and nurses for COVID duties, and it had provided a special Rs 15,000 cr “Public Health Emergency Support” to ramp up facilities and human resources in this regard.
Engaging personnel through the National Health Mission, an additional 2,206 specialists, 4,685 medical officers and 25,593 staff nurses were recruited through this process, it said.
Doctors, nurses and allied professionals form the backbone of COVID management and are also the frontline personnel. Their presence in adequate strength is critical to address the needs of the patients well, and the medical community’s stellar work and deep commitment has been taken note of by the government, it said.

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