The Madras High Court has been informed that a proper and effective mechanism would be put in place to ensure compliance of the notification issued on July 9, 2015 by the Director of Medical Education (DME) regarding duty timings of house surgeons and Compulsory Rotatory Residential Internship (CRRI) candidates.
The issue relates to a PIL moved by G R Ravindranath, general secretary of the Doctors’ Association for Social Equality, contending that UG CRRI candidates and post graduates (PG) continue to work on a 36-hour-long duty, resulting in severe stress.
He sought the court for a direction to DME to provide eight hours’ duty with shift system to the PG medical students and UG CRRI candidates in all medical colleges and hospitals, and provide a mechanism or appoint a high power committee to ensure continuous implementation of the eight-hour duty and shift system. He also sought for a direction to ensure that no non-medical duty is imposed on them.
However, Dr Indhumathi, submitted duty timings given in the circular dated July 9, 2015 are being strictly adhered to, and that depending upon exigencies and other circumstances, they must perform their duty beyond duty hours, considering the nobility of the profession. She also offered an undertaking that proper and effective mechanism would be put in place and an additional compliance report be filed in this regard.
The counter filed on behalf of DME explained in detail the duty timings for postgraduates and CRRT candidates, including that on admission days.
The counter also submitted that Dr. Udhayaraj, student of Madurai Medical College, had committed suicide not because of continuous and compulsory duties as contended by the petitioner but due to personal issues.
The students are also not entrusted with the insurance work relating to filling up of documents and it is rather done by the outsourcing staff in all medical colleges and hospitals, the counter said, while noting that a new circular has been issued to all government medical colleges on November 1, 2019 reiterating to follow the timings, already issued to PG and CRRI students, strictly.