The Medical Council of India(MCI) and Tamil Nadu Medical Council (TNMC) are looking into a complaint that 48 of the 59 doctors registered with the state council as holding postgraduate degrees in emergency medicine actually have unrecognized degrees.
The complaint was filed by Emergency Medicine Association, an organization of specialists in the discipline, based on information provided to it by the state council after an application filed under the right to information. The association’s complaint has also raised the question about such registrations being allowed in other state councils.
The degrees these doctors hold are from Sree Ramachandra Medical College and Research Institute and Vinayaka Mission Medical College. These colleges got letters of permission (LoPs) for a postgraduate course in emergency medicine with two seats each in 2013 and 2012 respectively.
Thus, there cannot be a recognized postgraduate degree in this discipline from these colleges before 2015 and 2016. Yet 48 of the postgraduate degrees registered were from before 2015, of which 20 are from before 2009, the year when emergency medicine was first recognized as a postgraduate specialty in India by MCI.
MCI president Dr. Jayshree Mehta told TOI that the complaint had been referred to the relevant section for scrutiny and verification before deciding the further course of action. TNMC vice-president Dr. R V S Surendran confirmed that only MCI-recognised degrees could be registered and added that they were looking into the matter. “These registrations happened long ago and we do not allow this anymore,” he added. However, all 48 unrecognized degrees have been registered in October, November and December 2017.
The list of 48 included several office-bearers of the Society for Emergency Medicine in India (SEMI), an organization that was running an unrecognized masters in emergency medicine programme. SEMI had said that it was merely a certificate programme that made no claims to being a post-graduate degree or to being recognized by MCI. SEMI’s board is dominated by doctors without MCI-recognised postgraduate emergency medicine degrees.
Senior faculty members teaching emergency medicine asked what the sanctity of a regulated system of medical education would be if unrecognized degrees were being registered in state councils. They pointed out that hospitals employed specialists with registered degrees as they trusted the system of registration.