Medical interns and postgraduates have traditionally occupied the lowest rungs in the hierarchy of training. From an academic standpoint, this seems fair and in congruence with any professional training pathway. Unfortunately, decades of exploitation of this structure have resulted in a system that is indifferent at best and malignant at worst for our young trainees.
The common citizen today has been jolted awake to the systemic deficiencies in our healthcare systems. While grappling with these, it is also important to shed light upon the struggles of the most vulnerable members of the care giving team. These include young medical interns, postgraduates, nurses, physiotherapists, pharmacists and other allied health workers.
Even before the pandemic, it was common in most public hospitals to have duty hour restrictions flouted, with sleep-deprived postgraduates working 100-hour weeks. Moreover, the stipends are erratic, with states like Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh awarding some of the lowest monthly stipends to first-year residents at Rs 35-37,000.
The author is an alumnus of Takshashila’s Health and Life Sciences Policy programme. Views are personal.