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Dentists and MBBS students (without degree) to be promoted for COVID Treatments in Delhi

Despite objection by doctors, Delhi govt ordered fourth-year and fifth-year MBBS students & dentists to be hired at the honorarium of ₹1,000 for an 8-hour and ₹2,000 for a 12-hour shift.
Arvind Kejriwal meets doctors, Medical staff in LNJP Hospital. [IMAGE – Indian Express]

The Delhi government has allowed the 4th and the 5th year MBBS students and dentists to assist in city hospitals in the treatment of coronavirus positive patients. The Delhi government hospitals can now engage the 4th and 5th-year MBBS students and dentists to treat coronavirus patients.

The order to engage MBBS students in Delhi government hospitals and Covid ICUs was issued by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday morning to meet the manpower shortage at the hospitals amid a spurt in the coronavirus cases in the national capital.

In view of the rising COVID-19 cases here, the Delhi government allowed COVID-19 designated hospitals to engage fourth and fifth-year MBBS students, interns, and BDS doctors to assist duty doctors in controlling the pandemic.

According to an official order, the fourth-year and fifth-year MBBS students and dental doctors will assist duty doctors at the honorarium of ₹ 1,000 for an eight-hour shift and ₹ 2,000 for a 12-hour shift per day.

But the Federation of Resident Doctors’ Association (FORDA), in a letter to Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain Sunday, objected to his department’s order, saying undergraduate medical students are “not skilled enough yet to be posted for Covid duties”. It said: “They are still under training to acquire necessary clinical skills and are at higher risk of contracting the infection.”

FORDA added: “Unfortunately, neither have there been adequate steps for recruitment of qualified doctors, nor have undergraduate medical students undergone any special training to work in such unforeseen circumstances.”

But days since the letter, FORDA has not received any response from the Delhi government as the national capital does not have an option due to shortage of medical staff. The shortage has also been caused to death of several health workers including doctors due to COVID.

The capital’s total cases tally is now 5,40,541 and 8,621 deaths as of now.