Numerous MBBS students in Maharashtra are in a panic since they are unsure if they will be allowed to take this year’s National Entrance Cumulative Eligibility Test (Postgraduate) (NEET-PG). The deadline for candidates to complete their required one-year internship is March 31, 2023, according to the NEET-PG information brochure. This year’s exam will begin in March. However, the majority of students in Maharashtra won’t even finish their internships till May, barring them from completing the NEET-PG.
Numerous students and parents have written to the Center to voice their concerns and demand that the deadline for internships be extended so that they can apply and take the NEET-PG. Before Covid-19, an MBBS student’s internship at the civically run Cooper Hospital in Mumbai used to end by January, and they would then sit for the NEET-PG exam in March, according to a student interning there.
“Due to Covid, our third year of MBBS was extended to one and a half years. Then in the fourth year, the college reduced it to eight months. But still, we were two months behind the date. Our internship started in May 2022 and will be completed in May 2023. This makes us ineligible for NEET-PG, which is scheduled in March, as we won’t have our internship certificate,” the student said.
Another student highlighted the delay in the allotment of seats for the internship. “Our fourth-year exams got over in March 2022 but we were allotted an internship only last May. This further delayed the process. Unlike earlier, when MBBS doctors used to get time in February for preparations, we don’t even have that time,” the student, who is interning at KEM hospital, said.
“Even as the application process has started, students are not able to apply as without a valid internship completion date they cannot proceed. Internship completion dates are going to be beyond March 2023 in a total of 11 states, thanks to the delay in the previous academic year. Last year too there was a similar issue,” said Sudha Shenoy, a parent representative.
Brijesh Sutaria, another parent, said, “There seems to have been some confusion in communication from states to the Centre. It has been brought to the notice of the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and required changes are expected soon.”
Dr. Avinash Dahiphale, president of Central MARD, also expressed worry over it.
“Doctors have worked tirelessly to treat patients with Covid-19. For this, their education was compromised. Now, they shouldn’t pay the price for their work. The Centre should consider extending the time for NEET-PG,” he said. MARD is also in the process to submit a letter to the state government in this regard. FORDA, the central body for medical students, has already written to the Centre on the issue.