Given the huge demand for doctors trained in emergency medicine, Residency Programs passing themselves off as masters courses have become a multi-crore industry in India. Many private hospitals are running such courses charging Rs 11-19 lakh for a three-year course. Ironically, this ensures that the monthly stipend of about Rs 25,000 paid to these young doctors over these three years comes out of the course fees they pay.
For Instance, masters in emergency medicine (MEM), administered by the George Washington University (GWU) in conjunction with several private hospitals is termed “a three-year postgraduate program in emergency medicine” on the GWU website. The MEM being run by the Society for Emergency Medicine in India (SEMI), is promoted as a PG programme by most hospitals on their website. But only the fine print acknowledges that it is not recognised by the Medical Council of India (MCI).
In the case of GWU-MEM, the affiliation is usually with the “academy” that most corporate hospitals have, to train medical personnel needed for their hospital chain. GWU-MEM started in 2007 as a two-year fellowship. In 2010, MCI recognised emergency medicine as a specialty and started the three-year MD course. Fellowship was then converted into a three-year masters.
“The hospital running SEMI-MEM charges from Rs 75,000 to over a lakh per year as fees. Much cheaper than the GWU-MEM. SEMIMEM students are paid the same stipend as Diplomate of National Board (DNB) students-Rs 25,000 to Rs 50,000 depending on the state,” claimed former SEMI president Dr T Srinath Kumar.
SEMI-MEMs mushrooming across India
1. Cheaper or at times free labour for hospitals
2. Gives the same benefits to run emergency departments.
Doctors who cannot make it through the entrance exam for MD and DNB in emergency medicine, opt for these training courses even if they are unrecognised. It helps them get jobs in private hospitals.