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Relocation of DNB doctors leads to ‘back-door entry’ | India News

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Relocation of DNB doctors leads to ‘back-door entry’ | India News 2

NEW DELHI: How does a candidate for DNB (a postgraduate medical degree) ranked around 34,600 in the entrance exam get allotted a high-demand specialty like radio diagnosis in a highly regarded institution? How does one ranked around 15,000 get into an institution which usually gets filled around rank 5,000? It is through an opaque process where candidates allotted to institutions that lose accreditation are ‘relocated’ to those where seats are still vacant. Candidates have accused the National Board of Examination (NBE) of facilitating such ‘back-door entry’ for select candidates.
Every year, the NBE, which regulates postgraduate courses in various medical specialties, mostly in private hospitals, allots candidates to hospitals according to their preference and ranking in the entrance exam. However, the board often withdraws accreditation of entire hospitals or of seats in a few specialties after allotment, leaving hundreds of students in the lurch. In most such cases, complaints about the hospitals that lose accreditation would have been made months or even years back, but NBE not only includes the seats in these hospitals in the counselling process, it even allots students to them only to later cancel accreditation.
Take the case of two students ranked in the range of 35,000 and allotted transfusion medicine in Nayati hospital in Mathura. The accreditation for Nayati was later cancelled and they were relocated to other hospitals for specialities like radio diagnosis and ophthalmology, both much more sought after. “How did they get to change their specialty? How come the seats they were given were never openly available for the mop-up counselling? There is zero transparency on how relocation is done and nothing is put in the public domain,” said a candidate still awaiting relocation months after accreditation was cancelled.
The roulette of relocation can also work against you. In one such case, a candidate with rank around 15,000 was allotted general medicine in Amaltas Medical College in MP in August last year. On November 6, NBE withdrew accreditation and offered a general medicine seat in a 200-bed hospital in Hyderabad. “I had chosen a medical college because according to the regulations, if I do DNB from a medical college or a hospital with over 500 beds, I don’t need to do an extra year of senior residency to have equivalence with MD/MS. Now, I’m being allocated to a 200-bed hospital, which means I’ll have to do an extra year. I’ve filed a case, but it’s a financial loss to fight a case and mental harassment on top of it,” said the candidate.
Candidates from an earlier batch allocated to Amaltas had complained to NBE about the institution over a year back. Yet, NBE included Amaltas’ seats in the 2020 counselling with no indication of the complaints or that it was under the scanner and allocated students there, and then went on to cancel its accreditation.
In another case, a student with rank around 16,500 was allocated emergency medicine in Columbia Asia Hospital in Bengaluru. The candidate had chosen Bengaluru as her husband was working in the city. She joined the hospital on August 26. The NBE conducted an inspection on September 10 and the accreditation for emergency medicine seats was cancelled by October end. “I was offered a seat in a 200-bed hospital in Ahmedabad and another in Delhi which were at the level of rank 22,000 or less. I was also told that if I didn’t join the allotted seat I would be debarred from DNB for three years,” she said.
Every year, accreditation of seats in over a dozen hospitals is withdrawn because they fail to maintain academic standards or to pay regular stipend. In 2020, for instance, about 100 students had to be relocated as accreditation for all DNB courses in hospitals like Aditya Birla Hospital in Pune, Nayati, Amaltas and CMRI, Kolkata, were shut down, while accreditation to specific courses in hospitals like Columbia Asia and Global Hospital, Pune was withdrawn.
“NBE doesn’t put out inspection reports of hospitals. There’s no public record of complaints received against hospitals and no date of accreditation. Why is NBE not taking responsibility for accrediting substandard institutions?” asked a former office bearer of the Association of DNB Doctors. NBE did not respond to TOI’s queries despite several reminders.

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