Top South Mumbai medical college loses two key departments

Updated: 30 December, 2016 13:11 IST | Vinod Kumar Menon |

Grant Medical College’s neurology and radio diagnostics departments to be de-recognised as professors haven’t submitted research papers

The two departments are housed in JJ Hospital campus. File Pic
The two departments are housed in JJ Hospital campus. File Pic

Grant Medical College is Mumbai’s biggest and oldest medical institution, but it can no longer take its premier status for granted. The Medical Council of India has raised concerns about irregularities in the appointment and promotion of teaching faculty in two key departments and has warned that until this is resolved, post-graduate admissions to the two branches will be considered illegal.

Also read: 400 resident doctors of Grant Medical and JJ go on an indefinite strike

Grant Medical College is housed in the same campus as JJ Hospital in Byculla
Grant Medical College is housed in the same campus as JJ Hospital in Byculla

The Medical Council of India (MCI) is in the process of de-recognising Grant Medical College’s Radio diagnosis and Neurology departments because of ad hoc appointment and promotion of professors and associate professors.

The decision was taken by the five-member panel in a high-level meeting in Delhi on November 9, based on confidential reports submitted by the Council Assessor on August 18 and August 29. “If found unsatisfactory, it will result in stoppage of admission to the post-graduate course,” read the minutes of the meeting, chaired by Dr SB Siwach, former director of the Pandit BD Sharma PGI, Rohtak.

A former faculty member of the college said, “It is high time that the medical education department or state government intervened and resolved the issues within the institution, or else this premier institute will be left with no future.”

Ineligible faculty
The post-graduate education committee of the MCI found as many as eight faculty members in the Radio Diagnosis wing, ranging from professors to senior residents, who are not eligible for the posts they are holding. In the Neurology department, on the other hand, the figure is much lower but the problem goes right to the very top – the committee has found the professor and head of the department ineligible as well. The committee found that these faculty members either did not have the required teaching experience or had not generated the mandatory level and numbers of research papers in national and international journals.

“How can a professor or associate professor who has not published any research papers become the guide for post-graduate students and introduce them to research methodology and expect them to submit their research thesis? Where are we headed towards?” questioned a senior doctor who was associated with the medical college for over four decades.

As per MCI rules, faculty members must accumulate years of teaching experience, as well as write research papers in medical journals to qualify as associate professor or higher. However, the reality is quite different at Grant, where appointments and promotions are being made on the basis of total experience as practising doctors instead of teaching experience, said a senior Mantralaya official from the health department.

Rocky road ahead
Grant Medical College has been granted four weeks for compliance with MCI rules and regulations. However, since four weeks is hardly enough to accumulate the requisite experience or research work, the institute’s future looks grim.

As it is, other departments are already flailing, with a shrinking number of faculty and students. “Earlier, the number of post-graduate seats across departments were more than 200, but this figure is now falling drastically. Today, the number of PG seats for Radio Diagnosis and Neurology at Grant Medical College is 3 and 2 respectively, which is far lesser than other medical college run by the Corporation or private colleges,” said a doctor.

It is also learnt that the MCI has till date not recognised the departments of Nephrology and Gastroenterology, established 30 years ago, because they do not have any teaching faculty or even a head of department. Similar concerns have been raised over the paediatric surgery department, which lacks teaching faculty as well. “Even in the medicine department, both the posts of full-time professors are vacant, which will be a problem in the future,” added the doctor.

The other side
Dr TP Lahane, dean of Grant Medical college and JJ hospital tried to play down the issue and said, “We have sanctioned posts for the present academic year. The compliance concerns raised by MCI are for academic year of 2017 and it is an ongoing process. We will submit the required documents and MCI members will once again conduct the scrutiny and will regularise the same.”

“These are all-India findings and not merely subject to Grant Medical College. In my institution, only two departments have been mentioned by the MCI committee, whereas 12 departments in KEM, 4 departments in Nair, 7 departments in LTMG and 3 departments in Terna medical colleges have fallen short of compliance,” he added.

Existing students safe
Dr Pravin Shingare, Director of Medical Education and Research told mid-day, “The notification on the minutes approved by the Medical Council of India is awaited. This means that the existing PG students in either of the departments will not be affected. However admissions for the academic year 2017 will be stalled for the two departments, until and unless the concerns raised by the committee are resolved by Grant Medical College.”

Dr Kalidas Chavan, Registrar of the Mahrashtra University of Health Sciences, Nashik said, “If the MCI committee has come across some compliance deficiency in the recruitment, then it needs to regularised by the institute by making necessary submissions, which is an ongoing process and won’t have any impact on PG students at this stage.”

Associate professor: Must have PG degree, five years of teaching experience as lecturer
Professor: Four more years of teaching experience, along with research publications in national and international journals
Senior professor and head of the department: Be the most experienced and meritorious faculty member

Year in which Grant Medical College was established

First Published: 30 December, 2016 08:55 IST

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