Maharashtra: Bond Penalties Cost 122 Doctors Their Lives In 5 Years

Maharashtra: Bond Penalties Cost 122 Doctors Their Lives In 5 Years

MARD Central writes to National Medical Council to abolish seat leaving bond penalties; report on issues resulting in compromised mental health status of resident doctors to be out in May

Swapnil MishraUpdated: Saturday, March 16, 2024, 10:52 PM IST
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The Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) Central has written to the National Medical Council (NMC), requesting them to put a stop to the seat leaving bond penalty in every form, which often results in resident doctors dying by suicide.

As per NMC data, 153 MBBS and 1,120 doctors pursuing post-graduate (PG) medical courses dropped out of their institutes in the last five years. Besides the dropouts, at least 122 medical students, 64 in MBBS and 58 in PG courses, died by suicide between 2018 and 2023. 

Urgency and significance of re-evaluating the existing policies

"These statistics underscore the urgency and significance of re-evaluating the existing policies surrounding penalties and seat retention bonds to address the mental health challenges faced by medical students in Maharashtra,” said Dr Abhijit Helge, president of central MARD.

Earlier, the anti-ragging committee of the NMC had also advised the council to do away with the seat leaving bond policy, considering the danger it poses to resident doctors across the country. Subsequently, the NMC set up a task force to review the details of every issue that leads to compromised mental health status of resident doctors. This report will be submitted in May. 

Dr Hegle said that Central MARD is the first association in the country to have highlighted the negative impact of seat leaving bond penalty on young doctors. “After conducting our research, we found out that there were innumerable instances where resident doctors resorted to suicide due to an unreasonable and exorbitant penalty that exists in varying magnitude and forms in India.

Meanwhile, medical students have emphasised the toll demanding schedules take, marked by prolonged working hours that affect their health, nutrition and sleep. Over time, these challenges have led to a decline in their mental well-being. Some have expressed a desire to quit their studies.

“In fields like management or engineering, students may choose to leave if they don’t find it enjoyable. However, in the medical field, where we already operate under tremendous pressure, penalties pose an additional challenge. It’s essential to comprehend that people’s lives depend on us. If we experience anxiety, it can have a profound impact on overall patient healthcare,” said a resident doctor on condition of anonymity.

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