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How a Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons (UK) Membership is a game-changer for Indian doctors?

Highlights:
As laudable as it is to be a doctor, the aspiration to serve the community and make it into a lucrative career poses numerous challenges while opting for a post-graduation in India.

To many of the MBBS graduates who have long wanted a viable PG option to achieve better standards and global recognition, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons (UK) Membership is a blessing in plain sight.

With increased possibilities to attain post MBBS, doctors in India have increasingly begun to opt for PG through Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons (UK) Programs.
File photo is used for representation only

With a population of over 1.25 billion people, India produces less than 50,000 medical specialists each year. A meager 315 seats to do PG in cardiology against a need of 3,375 and 120 PG seats in nephrology against a need of 2,000 kidney specialists a year, shows the dismal figures that paint India’s healthcare crisis and how far the government initiatives have fallen short. India also has a dismal doctor-patient ratio of less than one doctor for 1,000 people, the country lags far behind in the number of seats made available for post-graduate studies in medicine. Presently, after completing MBBS, students start their practice as junior doctors in public and private hospitals undertaking a strenuous job. There are 479 medical colleges in India, in the hands of government and private domains. The average admission capacity for post-graduate seats clocks at 31,415 across the country. In addition, there are 6,848 DNB seats – considered MD/MS equivalent.

Bridging supply and demand

The necessity to bridge this gap in available seats against growing need for more specialists opens new avenues, such as an international degree in post-graduation – one that is recognized by international professional bodies, most notably by Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons in the United Kingdom.

Among Commonwealth countries, a Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons is technically a college with Royal patronage and permission to use the prefix Royal. The educational institute is usually granted permission through a Royal Charter. Although incorporation is obtainable more easily, the distinction of a Royal Charter makes it still the most sought by and granted to educational institutions, those specifically considered to professional societies in the public interest.

As its recognized by the Medical Council of India (MCI), a certification from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons (UK) is considered as an equivalent to a post-graduate medical degree in India.

Localizing international recognition

Gone are the days when one had to travel overseas to take these examinations, anyone wanting to appear for a PG diploma from Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons (UK) can attend at any of the metropolitan cities such as New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata. To ease the number of candidates appearing in each schedule, dates are allotted 2 -3 times a year in these centres, often falling on February, May and November each year. Details on enrollment and examination schedule are rolled out 3 months in advance before the exams are held. The following are the various Royal College (UK) Memberships awarded for Physicians and Surgeons:

–          MRCP – Member of the Royal College of Physicians

–          MRCS – Member of the Royal College of Surgeons

–          MRCOG – Member of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

–          MRCPCH – Member of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health

–          MRC Path – Member of the Royal College of Pathologists

–          FRCR – Fellow of the Royal College of Radiologists

–          MRC Psych – Member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists

Indian doctors who wish to get the above-mentioned certifications need to enroll as soon as the dates are announced to ensure they are not pushed to the next intake.

Each of the aforementioned qualifications has two or three theoretical papers which a doctor has to pass before appearing for a final oral and clinical exam. Fee to take these tests are ranging 500 to 1000 British pounds per exam. Doctors with one year of experience at a clinic, preferably associated with a teaching hospital such as DNB approved or affiliated to a medical college, can attempt the first part of each of these exams individually. However, a total of 3 to 4 years clinical experience is necessary in the same specialty to appear for the final examination and subsequently qualify for the degree.

Those who ponder on the various advantages of gaining certification from Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons (UK) often need to direct to the simple facts, where NEET PG is yet to build a reputation of fierce competition in quality, rather in the number of people competing in its pool. A NEET PG exam has multiple choice questions (MCQs), single best answers (SBAs) and extended matching questions (EMQs), giving ample opportunity for any candidate to ace the exam.

In stark contrast, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons (UK) does not shy away from criticism of being competitive in quality, which is amplified in the increased awareness among doctors wanting a PG qualification outside NEET PG.

This is strongly supported by the astounding career path and job opportunities in:

  • Multi-specialty hospitals catering to their rich and elite patients coming from different parts of India and overseas.
  • This further validates the global recognition and reputation these qualifications garner in other countries.
  • An Indian doctor with certification from Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons (UK) has the unique opportunity and ability to practice across South East Asia, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Europe and Middle East.

With a striking alternative to NEET PG, preparing for PG certification from Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons (UK) becomes paramount of importance. Coaching and training for this particular field of PG equivalent takes more than a cursory online research.

Global recognition for Indian doctors

Texila American University, located in Guyana and overseas presence in India and Zambia, is renowned for its record of accomplishment in prepping Indian doctors appearing for these qualifications.

The university has bespoke programmes based on Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons (UK) modules to suit Indian doctors, along with attractive stipend while studying, exclusive training and assessment by Royal College consultants and a plethora of opportunities to have hands-on practical knowledge.

In partnership with the Central University of Nicaragua (UCN), their tried and tested method in training as well as in its well-researched literature are testament to its insightful success among the Indian diaspora qualifying for Master of Medicine/Master of Surgery – upon completion of Thesis.

–          Authored By, Dr. Ranjan Venkatesan, Dean, Post-graduate Medicine at Texila American University. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, London.

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