On Wednesday, the Ministry of Health of the Union instructed the States and Union Territories to initiate the necessary steps for the re-opening of medical colleges on or before 1 December, subject to compliance with all the Covid-19 guidelines.
In a letter to all chief secretaries and administrators of all states and UTs, a senior health ministry official said:
"States/UTs may take the necessary steps to open medical colleges on or before 1 December 2020. Needless to say, all SOPs/Guidelines on social distancing and prevention of the spread of pandemic by central/state/UT governments will be carefully developed by all colleges."
Following the recommendation of the National Medical Commission (NMC), referred to in the letter from the Ministry of Health, which was accessed by ANI," the NMC also provided a suggested training schedule for the different classes to be appended to their letter. In addition, the NMC has advised that a sufficient number of non-Covid beds may be made available in medical college hospitals to facilitate undergraduate medical training."
The Ministry of Health of the Union has also obtained concurrence from the Ministry of Home Affairs for the reopening of medical colleges in the Member States and the UTs.
The letter of recommendation of the NMC dated 12 November stated that medical colleges across the country must be reopened on or before 1 December 2020 for MBBS students who are already pursuing their course.
"The new academic session for 2020-21 should start on 1 February 2021. The new PG session for the academic years 2020-21 should start from at least 1 July 2021 and the forte NEET PG exam for the academic year 2021-22 should be scheduled for March-April 2021," said NMC's letter of recommendation.
The letter from NMC also mentions the re-opening of facilities for both outpatients and inpatients for non-Covid patients.
"The Commission also noted that hospitals attached to teaching hospitals have been converted to the completion of COVID hospitals in a number of states. However with the opening of medical colleges and to facilitate UG training, all medical colleges and affiliated hospitals would need to have a sufficient number of beds for non-Covid patients, and therefore facilities for both outpatients and inpatients to manage non-Covid patients would need to be restarted, if not already," read the letter.
NMC requested that the central government issue the necessary instructions to all state governments for the re-opening of medical colleges and also make available non-COVID beds in affiliated medical college hospitals to facilitate undergraduate medical training."
"The colleges shall comply with the Covid 19 re-opening guidelines issued by the competent authorities of the central/state/UT governments," he added.