Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently reviewed the availability of adequate medical personnel human resources for responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in the country and took some key decisions that will increase the medical personnel on COVID duty.
During the review the PM decided to postpone NEET-PG for at least four months; the exam will not be held before 31st August 2021. Students are given one month of time after the announcement of the exam before it is conducted. It will make a large number of qualified doctors available for COVID duties.
It was also decided to allow the deployment of medical interns in COVID-management duties under the supervision of their faculty, as part of the internship rotation.
Another decision was the services of final year MBBS students to utilized for providing services like teleconsultation and monitoring of mild COVID cases after due orientation by and under the supervision of faculty. This will reduce the workload on existing doctors engaged in COVID duty and provide a boost to efforts of triaging.
The services of final year PG students (broad as well as super-specialties) as residents may continue to be utilized until fresh batches of PG students have joined.
Apart from it, BSc/GNM-qualified nurses may be utilized in full-time COVID nursing duties under the supervision of senior doctors and nurses.
The individuals providing services in COVID management will be given priority in forthcoming regular government recruitments after they complete a minimum of 100 days of COVID duty.
The medical students/professionals sought to be engaged in COVID-related work will be suitably vaccinated. All health professionals thus engaged will be covered under the insurance scheme of the government for health workers engaged in fighting COVID-19.
All such professionals who sign up for a minimum of 100 days of COVID duty and complete it successfully will also be given the PM’s distinguished COVID National Service Samman from the Government of India.
Doctors, nurses, and allied professionals form the backbone of COVID management are also the frontline personnel. Their presence in adequate strength is critical to address the needs of the patients well. The stellar work and deep commitment of the medical community were taken note of.
The Central Government had issued guidelines on 16th June 2020 to facilitate the engagement of doctors/nurses for COVID duties. Besides, a special Rs 15,000 crore Public Health Emergency Support was provided by the Central Government to ramp up facilities and human resources for COVID management.
Engaging personnel through the National Health Mission (NHM), an additional 2,206 specialists, 4,685 medical officers, and 25,593 staff nurses were recruited through this process.