No, medical M.Sc postgraduates aren't taking doctor's jobs!
In a shocking article published by the Times of India on June 16th, Jaipur edition, the blame for PG seats remaining vacant in the pre- and para-clinical subjects are squarely laid on the medical M.Sc postgraduates. The article is available here: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/few-takers-for-pg-in-non-clinical-branches-at-med-colleges/articleshow/59184208.cms
Here is an open letter to the editor of Times of India on this matter.
It is unfortunate that this article is not well-researched and is biased against M.Sc degree holders. Medical M.Sc degree was made acceptable at a time when there were few doctors with MD degree in the pre- and para-clinical subjects. It is true that now there are plenty of MD degree holders in these subjects. The reason they are not fetching jobs are many; here are some points that will help in getting a clear picture.
1. MCI has reduced the teacher-student ratio, thereby decreasing the number of teachers required in medical colleges. This has led to decrease in the job-opportunities.
2. The retirement age of teachers in medical colleges has been raised to 70 years, which too contributes to the lack of vacancies.
3. Medical M.Sc persons can be appointed only to the extent of 30% in a department, the rest 70% are MD degree holders. It is incorrect to state that "..but medical colleges are applying the rule as compulsory". In most medical colleges, non-medical faculties are much lesser than 30%. Throughout India, the percentage of non-medical teachers in these subjects is only around 13%. In fact, MCI has asked medical colleges to give MD holders the first preference for academic jobs.
4. The reason why most doctors opt for MD in pathology is not that MSc in the subject is not available, but the fact it is in high demand in diagnostic laboratory sector.
5. The statement "lateral entry in medical colleges for jobs" is inaccurate because appointments are made as per MCI guidelines only. As qualified PG degree holders, even medical M.Sc persons are entitled to a job they deserve as per their education in medical colleges and MCI's teachers' eligibility guidelines.
6. The situation is similar with medical M.Sc postgraduates. Since they have obtained PG degree in the faculty of medicine, they are not equipped to work outside the healthcare system. Since MD holders are also doctors, they can always practice because of their professional degrees but medical M.Sc postgraduates have nowhere else to go. In many of the job advertisements posted recently, medical colleges have unfairly preferred only MBBS/MD holders for academic jobs.
7. In many western countries, pre- and para-clinical subjects are mostly taught by non-medical persons. In most of the top 10 medical colleges in the world, 50-60% of the faculties in these subjects are non-doctors. In their countries, doctors are expected to assist in healthcare rather than teaching. The primary role of doctors is to treat patients, the presence of non-doctors in the medical education is good for the society as it spares doctors required for healthcare given that patient to doctor ratio in our country is dismal.
As a responsible media, TOI is expected to make a thorough research and get a clear picture before publishing. It would be prudent that TOI makes a well-researched and a balanced article on the same.