Mumbai: The state’s medical education department has written to the union health ministry highlighting significant gaps in standards of institutions that offer College of Physicians and Surgeons-affiliated (CPS) courses.
In an inspection conducted by Maharashtra Medical Council last year, several such institutes were found to have “severe deficiencies,” prompting the department to request the Centre’s opinion on whether counselling can be conducted for nearly 1,100 CPS seats.
However, over 3,000 aspiring medical professionals are in limbo as counselling for 1,081 seats in CPS courses for the 2022-23 academic year has not yet begun even as the Centre has conducted the NEET-PG for 2023-24. This delay in CPS admissions, which typically follow completion of MD/MS rounds, has caused concern in the medical community as central admissions to postgraduate courses too ended around mid-January.
For three years, admissions to CPS courses in Maharashtra have been done by the Directorate of Medical Education and Research. On January 13, 2023, the union ministry issued a letter to states asking them to initiate admission process for CPS courses.
Medical education secretary Ashwini Joshi wrote to the union health ministry stating MMC has conducted inspections of some hospitals running CPS courses in January. 120 hospitals were visited; 2 institutes were found non-operational; 74 refused inspection; and in 44, where inspection was carried out, the teams found severe deficiencies in terms of infrastructure and faculty, which were in violation of NMC Minimum Standard Requirement (MSR), the report stated.
Dr Joshi in her letter underlined that admitting students in such institutes would be detrimental to their careers and for the health system. “Hence you are requested to guide further,” the letter said. Sources told TOI the state has also sent a reminder to the Centre. An officer said, “Till Centre’s guidance arrives, how could we begin the counselling process?”
But CPS president Dr Girish Maindarkar said he was not informed about the inspection and the institute got information on the state’s letter through social media. “If there is anything wrong in affiliated institutes, as president of CPS, I should have been kept in the know. Also, MMC is a registration body, I am not sure if it can act as a regulatory body and inspect our institutions,” he said.
The council also needs to inform about shortcomings, he said. “The MSR for DNB (Diplomate of National Board) and CPS institutions are different from MSR for medical colleges affiliated to universities. Teachers inspecting CPS institutes are from medical colleges and we will understand the inspection was fair if we see the report,” said Dr Maindarkar. CPS has written to the state twice since January asking it to start the admission process.
Sandwiched in this confusion are Maharashtra’s CPS aspirants who said that CPS admissions in other states such as Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat have begun. Candidates who were waiting for this year’s counselling process did not even register for NEET-PG 2023, assuming they would get a diploma seat in the current year.
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