National Medical Commission, the Indian regulatory body which regulates medical education and medical professionals, has released a set of draft regulations for Foreign Medical Graduates (FMGs). A Foreign Medical Graduate (FMG) is one who has acquired primary medical qualification in the modern system of medicine in a country other than India. The draft has laid down certain eligibility criteria and without fulfilling them no person shall be allowed to obtain a license for practising medicine in India.
The draft regulations primarily focus on two categories of candidates-
- Those who have completed their Senior Secondary School education in India before joining a medical college overseas. The eligibility criteria for candidates in this section are as follows:
- Total of twelve (12) years of schooling (Senior Secondary/ Higher Secondary/Intermediate/ Secondary or equivalent) duly recognized by the appropriate authority in Central/State/UT Govt.
- Passing of the appropriate Class twelve (12) Examination as indicated in clause (a) with minimum eligible marks being notified before the entrance examination.
- The person should have studied science subjects of Physics, Chemistry, Biology/Biotechnology as the core or main subjects in the last two years of schooling or during graduation after schooling (which shall include practical tests in these subjects).
- The person should have successfully qualified in the National Eligibility cam Entrance Test for Undergraduates [NEET (UG)] to take admission in the Foreign Medical Institution.
- Those intending to practice in India after completing their senior secondary education and MBBS or its equivalent medical qualification from outside India. The eligibility criteria for candidates in this section are as follows:
- In case a person has studied senior secondary education and undergraduate Medical education from outside India according to the rules and regulations of the country where he has completed his medical education, he shall be entitled to obtain a license to practice in India provided he has completed at least 12 years of schooling with science subjects of Physics, Chemistry, Biology/ Biotechnology and English in their school completion or equivalent examination or in their graduation as core subjects with subsequent successful completion of at least First Year of Graduation in Science with Physics, Chemistry, Biology/ Biotechnology provided that a university or equivalent examination in theory and practical was held in these subjects.
- The person has undergone a minimum of four and half years (54 months) of theoretical and practical training for acquisition of primary medical qualification i.e. undergraduate medical training (MBBS) after 10+2 educational structure with an additional 12 months of internship/clinical clerkship after qualifying in the country where the medical qualification has been awarded. The MBBS education must have been in English medium. The person has undergone a minimum of four years (48 months) of theoretical and practical training for acquisition of primary medical qualification i.e. undergraduate medical training (MBBS) in English, after graduation and with practical/clinical training conducted physically with an additional 12 months of internship/clinical clerkship after qualifying in the country where the medical qualification has been awarded.
- Primary qualifications to be obtained in a foreign Medical Institution shall include theoretical classes, practical clinical training and twelve (12) months of compulsory rotating internship/clinical clerkship commensurate with rotating internship in India which shall include hands-on training in clinical subjects of Community Medicine, General Medicine, Psychiatry, Pediatrics, General Surgery, Anaesthesia, Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Orthopaedics including PM&R, Otorhinolaryngology, Ophthalmology, Casualty services, Lab services, Elective posting in either of Dermatology-Venereology-Leprosy, Tuberculosis & Respiratory Medicine, Radiodiagnosis, Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, Blood bank and Transfusion Services.
- The entire undergraduate medical training and internship shall be outside India in the same foreign medical institution throughout the regular course of study and no part of medical training and internship should have been done in India or in any country other than the country from where undergraduate training is obtained.
- A Person shall be eligible to be Registered/Licensed to practice in a country where the MBBS or its equivalent medical degree has been awarded by that foreign medical institution. The registration in that country should be valid for at least 10 years.
A person intending to practice in India after obtaining primary Medical qualifications needs to qualify for the Foreign Medical Graduate Examination (FMGE) until the National Exit Test (NExT) becomes operational. The National Exit Test (NExT) examination shall consist of NExT step 1 and NExT step 2. For FMGs, Step 1 will include an additional paper to assess pre and para-clinical subjects’ knowledge. Foreign Medical Graduates are required to qualify for the Screening test in India (FMGE/NExT) within 2 years of completing the MBBS abroad. The government should consider the best steps so that we do not have a shortage of qualified healthcare workers in India.