Tamil Nadu: Govt fixes duty timings of PG students attached to govt medical colleges

The Tamil Nadu government has regulated duty timings of post graduate (PG) students working in government medical colleges. The Directorate of Medical Education (DMER) has issued a letter in this regards to all the deans of government medical colleges

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The mental health of young doctors working in government medical colleges is at a tipping point. Stress, massive workload, erratic duty hours, lack of sleep, and the working environment is taking a toll on their mind.

With an aim to reduce the mental pressure on doctors, Directorate of Medical Education (DMER) Tamil Nadu, has taken a decision to regulate duty timings of Post Graduate students working in government medical colleges.

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As per Directorate of Medical Education (Tamil Nadu)

  • Regular timings of Post Graduate and CRRI students are 8 AM to 2 PM on all days except admission day
  • On admission days, the duty hours will be 7 am to 1 pm.
  • Then two batches, the first batch is from 1 pm to 9 pm and second is from 9 pm to 8 am.

Burnout among resident doctors is one of the main areas of concern. As suicide cases among young medicos are rising, owing to which the Indian Medical Association (IMA) and associations of student doctors have also raised the issue of fixing the duty hours for the betterment of budding doctors.

Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) is too pressing on the demand to fix duty hours since the past few years.

Dr Kalyani Dongre, President, Central MARD said, “If duty hours of resident doctors are fixed this will surely benefit them. Resident doctors attached to government medical colleges are sleep deprived. If duty hours are fixed, then they will remain fresh on duty the next day. They can provide better health services to patients.”

“Directorate of Medical Education, Tamil Nadu has taken a good decision. In Maharashtra too, we have been pressing the same demand. We had moved to the court for this. Also, discussing with the medical education department on the same,” added Dr Dongre.

In Maharashtra, duty hours of PG students are erratic. As sometimes they have to work for 48 hours in the shift.

When asked whether Maharashtra is deliberating on fixing duty timings, Dr Tatyarao Lahane, Additional Director, Directorate of Medical Education and Research, informed, “The state government is also trying to regulate the duty hours of the postgraduate students in medical colleges. We have set-up a committee that will take a final decision soon. We are working towards regulating the total working hours of the week.”

While Dr Shivkumar Utture, a Member of the Indian Medical Association (IMA), stated, “Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors has been demanding to fix the duty hours for a long time now. The committee should consider both sides before making a decision.”