Medical interns protest extension, to boycott work

Association says move will affect their preparation for higher studies

Medical interns staged a protest across the State on Wednesday opposing the Directorate of Medical Education’s (DME) move to extend the Compulsory Rotatory Residential Internship (CRRI) period till the new batch joined in view of the surge in COVID-19 infections in the State.

The interns have decided to boycott work indefinitely until their demands were met.

In a statement, the Tamil Nadu Medical Students Association (TNMSA) said on March 26, the DME stated that 2015 batch CRRIs should be given completion certificates, provided they completed the required period of internship.

However, on March 30, the DME issued a circular mentioning that the CRRIs may be retained until the next batch of CRRIs join duty.

The DME, in the circular, said as per the meeting of head of departments and instructions of Principal Secretary (Health) and as per the National Medical Commission’s instructions, the students, who are completing their CRRI in the last week of March 2021, may be given an extension of one month. Though their internship period ended on Wednesday, in view of the COVID-19 pandemic and to take care of patients admitted in the hospitals, the period may be extended till the next batch of CRRIs joined so that patient care services would be maintained.

Noting that such contradictory statements were not acceptable, the TNMSA said this amounted to exploitation of young doctors with minimal pay. Condemning the move, the association said the announcement would affect the preparation for postgraduate entrance examinations and other competitive exams that would have a great impact on their future.

They urged the government to take up immediate registration of the 2015 batch of CRRIs in the Tamil Nadu Medical Council, and immediate designation of CRRIs who completed one year of internship as assistant surgeon general with pay equivalent to a medical officer.

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