Mumbai: Registered medical practitioners (RMPs) in the state will accrue credit points for treating COVID-19 patients and curtailing the spread of the infection, the Maharashtra Medical Council (MMC) has said, in a circular issued on Wednesday.
This incentive comes following the Directorate Of Medical Education and Research (DMER)'s stern order, directing all RMPs to report to hospitals for treating Covid-19 patients with immediate effect, or have their licences revoked.
Dr TP Lahane, director, DMER, said many private doctors had shut their clinics after Mumbai emerged as an epicentre. Many others continued to practise but refused to examine patients with Covid-19 symptoms, such as fever, cough, or breathlessness.
Currently, some hospitals in the city are not functional, so doctors of those hospitals were requested to report for duty for treating Covid patients. But it was learnt that they refused to do so, following which we decided to summon everyone back to work, failing which their licences would be revoked, he said.
“Your expert service is required for the treatment of Covid-19 patients, at least for 15 days. You shall convey your willingness and place of choice where you would like to render your service,” the DMER order said.
Dr Shivkumar Utture, president, MMC, said they have welcomed the decision and will award credit points to those RMPs joining Covid duty in private or government hospitals, fever clinics, containment zones. A list of RMPs is being prepared and is expected to be ready in the next two days.
“Those RMPs who work for a maximum of 10 hours and actively participate in the containment and treatment of Covid-19 patients will be awarded two credit points per day, which will count towards their continuing professional development (CPD),” he said.
Every five years, doctors need to renew their licence to practice. Norms stipulate that doctors must earn 30 CME credit hours over a period of five years by attending conferences and seminars. “
These points will only be granted if the said RMPs produce a certificate from the dean/district collector/corporation health officers that they have actively participated in the duties,” Dr Utture added. Doctors say, since the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, has been invoked, they have no option but to comply with the order issued by the DMER.
“We have been told, unless we report to work, our licences will be revoked, or we won’t get COD points for the renewal of our licences. But what about dental, Ayurvedic and homeopathic doctors, shouldn’t they too be roped in compulsorily?” questioned one of the doctors.
Meanwhile, resident, and junior docs on the frontline of the corona war at civic hospitals have welcomed the move, stating this decision should have been taken earlier. "All doctors are warriors right now, but if experienced doctors are there, it gives us strength.
It is challenging for us to handle serious cases, so, yes, for now, there is a need for senior docs to come forward in this pandemic situation,” said a resident doc posted at the BYL Nair Hospital which is a dedicated Covid treatment facility.