Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) has demanded to waive the penalty by the Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER) for those who leave the seat. It has shown the concern over the issues that resident doctors are facing.
On October 20, 2023, MARD significantly explained the mental condition that the state of Maharashtra is currently facing. The Vice president of Central MARD, Dr. Sarbik De said “Maharashtra ranks second in the nation when it comes to suicide by medical students.” To support this statement, he shared the ratio of medical students attempting suicide, 14 medical students lost their lives in the last five years, among them 11 are postgraduate medical students.
Furthermore, On November 6, 2023, Dr Sarbik wrote a letter to the Medical Education Commissioner with a request to set up a grievance redressal committee that will serve the resident doctors to help them raise a voice of concern, seeking guidance and receiving assistance for any challenges they face. The proposed committee will schedule a meeting every month to help the doctors in this regard.
Dr. Abhijit Helge, President of MARD shared that in the past weeks, he has been getting cases where the resident doctors are facing mental issues and have gone through psychiatric treatment. He claimed that these resident doctors were not able to leave the seat because of the heavy penalty. The instance can be driven from this, recently one of the resident doctors had to pay a penalty of Rs 20 lakh to leave the seat.
According to MARD, the helpline provided to help the resident doctors by the Medical Education Department is not working and has only been done on paper, no serious actions have been taken to solve the problem of the doctors. When research took place, to find the reason for the increasing suicide rate in resident doctors. The research highlighted strict and rigid Work culture, seniority and hefty penalties as the prime reasons for the problem. Moreover, the long working hours have extended so much that they are working for 36 hours in one shift and 100-120 hours per week, that is another reason that makes the problem more serious.
To provide the solutions, MARD is demanding a regularisation of working hours as per the National Medical Council in which the working hours would be 12 hours per shift and one day weekly off. Dr. Dilip Mhaisekar, Director of Directorate Medical Education and Research (DMER) said in the letter of MARD that they will soon take up the concerned meeting for the problems faced by the resident doctors.
Resident doctors are junior doctors who work in hospitals under the senior physician. The training programme could last up to four to seven years. With an ever-increasing competitive climate, mental morbidity and stress, the doctors are finding themselves to be more depressed and anxious. The other problem that resident doctors are facing is burnout i.e. exhaustion either mentally or physically. The solution for the mental issues for the doctors is limited working hours that cannot reach up to 12 hours per shift. The senior doctors are to understand the issues of resident doctors and help them in seeking help and guidance. Some small steps of guidance from the concerned authorities could help them to grow and learn better.