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Key medical super specialty positions are unfilled, forcing the government to lower the cut-off.

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Peeyush Ghalot
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(Photo Courtesy: - The Tribune)

The Indian medical industry is in serious trouble since there are no students enrolling in the necessary super speciality courses nationwide. As many as 691 of the 3,833 super specialty seats that are available at medical institutes throughout India are still unfilled following the conclusion of the first round of counselling for the NEET stream. The most severe crisis has affected the medical super specialties of cardio thoracic and vascular surgery, cardiology, and paediatric surgery, where the vacancy rates are as high as 70%, 28%, and 68%, respectively. The government is having a difficult time understanding this trend given that 10,037 candidates qualified for admission to the NEET super specialty for the academic year 2019-2020 this year. After the first NEET super specialty counselling for the 2019-2020 session, 130 out of 185 cardio thoracic surgery seats have become empty, representing seven out of every ten available positions. Currently, 111 of the 162 paediatric surgery super-specialty seats available in Indian institutes remain unfilled. There are over 30 super specialties in medicine. The Medical Council of India Board of Governors' suggestion to lower eligibility percentiles in order to fill the seats was approved by the government as a result of the results. According to the decision, the percentile for eligibility in the super specialties of CTVS, cardiology, and paediatric surgery will be reduced from 50 to 20 and for the remaining super specialty courses, it will be reduced from 50 to 40. The Chairman of MCI BOG, VK Paul, stated that India could not afford to have open positions in super specialties. We hope that by lowering the percentiles while maintaining core quality, all positions will be filled. The MCI BOG has also started an investigation into why physicians choose to pursue super specialties like gastroenterology, endocrinology, radiology, and surgical oncology, where nearly all seats are filled this year, despite the fact that these fields are crucial to the future of the nation and require post-doctoral training in them. One explanation could be that some streams, such cardiothoracic, paediatric, and cardiology, are more physically taxing and demanding than others.

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