Top
Begin typing your search above and press return to search.
Top Stories

Include NEET PG Aspirants, Trained Nursing Students In COVID Force; Incentivize Them With Grace Marks : Suggests Supreme Court

Mehal Jain
6 May 2021 9:29 AM GMT
Include NEET PG Aspirants, Trained Nursing Students In COVID Force; Incentivize Them With Grace Marks : Suggests Supreme Court
x

"There is no way today that we have the number of health professionals in our medical infrastructure to be able to meet the ongoing second surge and a potential third wave. No country in the world can meet such a demand. And India does not have such a quantum of human resources", observed Justice D. Y. Chandrachud on Thursday.The bench of Justices Chandrachud and Justice M.R. Shah was...

Your free access to Live Law has expired
To read the article, get a premium account.
    Your Subscription Supports Independent Journalism
Subscription starts from
599+GST
(For 6 Months)
Premium account gives you:
  • Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.
  • Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.
Already a subscriber?

"There is no way today that we have the number of health professionals in our medical infrastructure to be able to meet the ongoing second surge and a potential third wave. No country in the world can meet such a demand. And India does not have such a quantum of human resources", observed Justice D. Y. Chandrachud on Thursday.

The bench of Justices Chandrachud and Justice M.R. Shah was considering the Centre's SLP against the Delhi High Court's contempt notice to its officials for failing to secure a supply of 700 MT of oxygen to Delhi as directed by the SC on April 30. Having stayed the contempt yesterday, the bench had required the Centre to explain its plan to achieve the requisite supply.

In the course of the hearing, Justice Chandrachud pointed to SG Tushar Mehta the existing and the anticipated paucity of doctors, nurses and other allied health care professionals- "A fatigue is setting in the existing professionals. They have been at it since March, 2020! They are at the end of their tether...We are seeing a surge right now. There is also an anticipation by official scientists of a potential third wave"

"There are 1.5 lakh doctors waiting to appear in the NEET who have completed the medical course and their internship. There are some 2.5 lakh nurses who are now fully trained. They can be involved in the COVID workforce. But if you give them 15-25,000 rupees, nobody would come. How can you make Covid service attractive to them? This can bolster your infrastructure for the third surge", suggested the judge.

The SG responded that there could also be an incentive by way of grace marks in the PG exam.

The SG added that an effort in the direction of this suggestion regarding tapping available human resources of to-be doctors and to-be nurses is already underway-

"Something is happening in this direction. I have spoken to a high-placed officer in this regard. I will check with the Health Ministry and respond back to the Court"

Justice Shah pointed out that there are so many MBBS degree holders also who are performing non-medical and administrative duties as associate professors etc. "Let them also be deputed. If students can be deputed in hospitals, they must also be. Right now they are not doing anything and they are sitting at home. All of them are your employees!", said the judge.

The SG suggested that even private doctors may be asked to come and render their service–"As of now, there is 1 doctor for 100-150 patients in hospitals. If even 20% (of private doctors) come, that would be enough"

SG Mehta then shared with the bench a note on behalf of the government of India on this aspect:

He averred that in view of the COVID situation, the NEET PG 2021 has been postponed and that the exam will now be scheduled for only after August 31 and that all candidates will be given atleast 1 month's time even after the exam date is notified.

Accordingly, Mr. Mehta pointed out that the Centre has urged the state/UT governments to try to reach out to all NEET candidates and persuade them to join the COVID workforce.

"The state/UT governments can utilise even medical interns under the supervision of their faculty by way of internship. The final year MBBS students can be deployed for providing services like tele-consultation...", it has been proposed by the Centre.

Further, it is submitted that the services of final year PG students and residents may continue to be utilised until the fresh admissions. Similarly, the services of the senior resident/registrars be continued to be utilised under new recruitment until new recruitments are made.

"Qualified nurses may be utilised full-time in ICUs etc under the supervision of doctors and senior nurses. Final year nursing students may also be given full-time duties at government or private facilities under supervision...allied healthcare professionals can be appointed for assistance in Covid management depending on their training and certification", it is proposed.

"The National Health Mission norm for contractual human resource engagement may be considered by states and UTs Flexibility is with the states to decide on remuneration for the same", it is said.

As regards the incentive and recognition of such service, the states and UTs have been given liberty to decide on a suitable honorarium for distinguished service. All health professionals engaged will be covered under the insurance scheme of the government for health workers fighting Covid. Also professionals who sign up for minimum hundred days of Covid duty will be given the Prime Minister's National COVID Samman. States are to ensure that medical professionals so engaged in Covid care are fully vaccinated.

Besides, it is asserted that these relaxations and incentives, which are to augment human resources during COVID pandemic, should be fully availed by all institutions- central, state and private.

The Centre has stated that the financial incentives or remuneration shall be available only for those who work at least hundred days for Covid care.

The government of India has also recommended the states and UTs to consider giving preference in regular government appointments of health professionals to these persons who complete a minimum of hundred days of Covid related duty.

The state/UT governments have also been urged to expeditiously fill vacant posts of doctors, nurses, other related healthcare staff, at most within 45 days through contractual appointments.

After perusing the note, Justice Chandrachud pointed out- "The most important thing is missing here...incentive in the form of grace marks in the NEET PG course. Money won't help. People won't stir out in these COVID times otherwise".

"This Suggestion will be conveyed with utmost sincerity and I am sure the government would not object", assured the SG.

Justice Shah pointed out that there must also be follow-up steps taken by the state government and that they must report to the Centre, and that the above policy must not only remain on paper.

Amicus Curiae Jaipdeep Gupta pointed out a news clipping that Himachal Pradesh is giving by way of incentive some Rs.1500-Rs.3000 to these medical professionals.

"This is a message on WhatsApp circulation and it is totally wrong. Some senior lawyer sent it to me and immediately corrected that I should not act on it as it is not correct. What I said to him was that this sum of Rs. 1500-3000 is not an incentive but an insult!", clarified the SG.

As Mr. Gujpta pressed that he has received this information from a doctor at Medanta, the bench also remarked that it is clearly fake news.

Next Story
Share it