Chandigarh: Now 'ghost' teachers haunt medical colleges!

Chandigarh: Medical science may not believe in the ghost stories but unethical practices adopted by private medical colleges and unscrupulous doctors in the region have put a big question mark on the standard of education being imparted and the kind of doctors being churned out by these institutions.

With 436 'ghost' teachers being discovered by the Punjab Medical Council (PMC) during its recent inspection of four private medical colleges in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, a major controversy has erupted about the unethical practices adopted by these colleges and doctors.

The PMC team found that the 436 doctors, most of whom were practising in Punjab, were simultaneously serving four medical colleges: MM (Maharishi Markandeshwar) Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, Mullana (Ambala-Haryana/240 doctors); MM Medical College and Hospital, Kumarhatti (Himachal Pradesh/84 doctors), Gian Sagar Medical College and Hospital, Banur (Punjab/64 doctors) and Adesh Institute of Medical Sciences, Bathinda (Punjab/48 doctors).

The doctors were shown on records of these institutions as faculty members on well-paid jobs even without taking any classes. The PMC inspection revealed that one of the doctors who was heading an institution's own ethics committee figured in the list of ghost teachers.

Medical Council of India (MCI) guidelines clearly stipulate that part-time and guest faculty cannot be engaged for regular classes in medical colleges.

Faced with this embarrassing revelation, the PMC has initiated the process to suspend or cancel the registration of the doctors. "We are issuing show-cause notices to the concerned doctors. Action will follow, based on their replies. If they are actually teaching in these institutes in other states, they will have to be de-listed from the PMC," PMC president G.S. Grewal said.

The PMC has received complaints that the doctors who were shown as faculty members in colleges in three states were running their private health clinics, hair therapy clinics, cosmetic therapy clinics and even offering treatment for heart ailments.

The department of medical education and research in Punjab has initiated an investigation into the findings of the PMC team. "There is a tendency among some medical colleges, which are mere teaching shops, to show doctors as their regular faculty whereas these people may have never even visited these institutions. Everyone is making a fast buck in all this mess. The kind of doctors that these medical colleges produce is anyone's guess," a senior faculty member at Patiala's Government Medical College said.

Students pay hefty amounts, running in lakhs of rupees, to get admission to these medical colleges.

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