As India continues to grapple with the second wave of Covid-19, a group of doctors have written a letter to the Prime Minister, expressing concern over lack of manpower to tackle the crisis. India's healthcare infrastructure is stretched too thin. Doctors, nurses and others are working round-the-clock tending to patients.
While speaking to The Free Press Journal, Dr Alexander Thomas, President, AHPI, and one of the signees of the letter, said it offers suggestions to the Government, which if implemented, would be of huge help to the existing healthcare professionals.
Industry leaders of IMA, ASSOCHAM, CII, FICCI, NATHEALTH and AHPI have formed the ‘National Working Group on COVID-19’ to collectively plan and evolve effective measures to assist the Government in overcoming the crisis.
Dr Thomas says, some of the suggestions they offered were: The NEET Postgraduate examination may be conducted online, and the results announced immediately. Hence, the ones who are not selected, be given an opportunity to serve in Covid ICUs. Their service can be incentivised in the form of grace marks for the PG NEET exam.
Another suggestion was the interns, who opt to work in Covid ICUs for a year, be given grace marks while appearing for PG NEET exam. Finally, Dr Thomas says they also offered suggestion regarding Foreign Medical Graduates, who are yet to pass their exams. These students also be given an opportunity to work in Covid ICUs for a year, and exempt them from FMG Examination and directly enroll them under the State Medical Council.
Dr Thomas says they have also requested for appropriate compensation for the students. Lastly, Dr Thomas says their suggestions were not just about doctors. He said final year nurses and technicians can be utilised to work in Covid hospitals, and they should be paid stipend for the same.
The letter, apart from Dr Thomas, has been signed by Prof. (Dr.) J.A. Jayalal — President, IMA, Dr. Alok Roy, Chairman — FICCI Health Services Committee, Dr. Naresh Trehan — Chairman, CII Healthcare council, Cdr. Navneet Bali — Co-Chair, ASSOCHAM Health Council, and Dr. Harsh Mahajan — President, NATHEALTH.
The letter also requests that all healthcare professionals engaged in the fight against Covid-19 be provided with appropriate insurance coverage.