The state has proposed a solution to students and parents protesting COVID-19 duty for medical students.
Earlier the state had said that it will use the medical students as additional COVID-19 workforce.
It said it will also provide them with the necessary training and place them on COVID-19 duty as per their field of study.
Parents, students, and even the Indian Medical Association had opposed the same.
The health department said that students (both local and outstation) serving on COVID-19 duty will have their rural services time reduced.
Double the amount of actual time served in COVID-19 duty will be adjusted against the compulsory rural duty of medical students.
For example, a student who serves as part of the COVID-19 workforce for three months will have six months reduced from his compulsory rural duty.
Shortage of staff
The health department issued an order asking medical students to report for COVID-19 duty in various capacities.
It had also promised to provide training for the same.
This was done to help the state cope with the rising incidence of COVID-19 cases.
The rise in cases was putting pressure on an already stretched infrastructure.
Medical students (both local and non-local) have to sign a rural service bond in the state.
The department stated that time spent as a COVID-19 warrior will be counted against the rural bond that they are required to serve on completing their education.
It has promised to deduct double the amount of time served at COVID-19 notified hospitals against the student’s rural bond.
The offer is also open to students who have already graduated but failed to fulfill their rural bonds and also could not pay up the bond money.
It has asked those interested to get in touch with the health commissioner following which they will be appointed in lieu of their pending bonds to COVID-19 facilities.
The respective COVID-19 hospitals will also have to provide a certificate for the service rendered to the concerned medical students and doctors.
The offer will be applicable only until the COVID-19 pandemic situation prevails.
The benefit against rural bonds will be applicable from the day a doctor or medical student joins duty in a COVID-19 notified hospital.
What is the rule for rural bonds?
Local and outstation candidates applying for admission to medical colleges in Gujarat have to sign a five-year rural bond.
The bond makes it mandatory for them to serve in rural areas of the state for a period of five years.
The local students have to give a bond of Rs5 lakh while outstation medical students are required to sign a bond of Rs10 lakh.
Later an amendment was brought wherein the rural service period was reduced by a year but the bond for the same was increased to Rs20 lakh.
This was changed again in January and the bond for a year of rural service was increased to Rs40 lakh.
In case a candidate fails to honour the bond and serve a year in rural areas, the money deposited with the state is forfeited.