Year : 2019 | Volume
: 23 | Issue : 4 | Page : 301--302
Are we addressing the core issues through bridge course?
Secretary, Indian Society of Periodontology, Professor and Head, Department of Periodontics and Implantology, VSPM Dental College and Research Centre, Digdoh Hills, Hingna Road, Nagpur, Maharashtra, India
Secretary, Indian Society of Periodontology, Professor and Head, Department of Periodontics and Implantology, VSPM Dental College and Research Centre, Digdoh Hills, Hingna Road, Nagpur, Maharashtra
|How to cite this article:|
Kolte A. Are we addressing the core issues through bridge course?.J Indian Soc Periodontol 2019;23:301-302
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Kolte A. Are we addressing the core issues through bridge course?. J Indian Soc Periodontol [serial online] 2019 [cited 2020 May 25 ];23:301-302
Available from: http://www.jisponline.com/text.asp?2019/23/4/301/261553
Dental profession has seen major changes occurring since the past two decades. The changes have taken place at such a fast pace that we have seen the profession going a full circle from being undervalued initially to being recognised as one of the best professions and then again deteriorating rapidly. The numbers of the new dental graduates passing out every year is a matter of great concern for the professionals as well as the law makers. There is absolutely no scope for any sort of job opportunities for the young graduates and the private clinical practices are suffering due to lack of awareness amongst the public and the stiff competition which adds up to the woes of the professionals.
There is a thought process being put forth by the regulatory authorities in terms of bridge course being able to address the situation so that the opportunities for the dental professionals taking up this course will be increased. The proposal is being actively considered by the lawmakers and consultations are under way regarding the feasibility and practical implementation of the same, if approved. It has also been mentioned that such professionals will be able to practice in rural areas where there is shortage of medical professionals. This way it will solve the problem of availability of the so-called family physicians at the rural centres thus benefitting the public and also providing an opportunity to the young dental graduates.
The Indian Medical Association has strongly opposed the move on the grounds that there are thousands of medical graduates awaiting jobs and under such circumstances the bridge course will complicate the situation further for the medical professionals. Secondly, it has been mentioned that though the dental undergraduate syllabus has some of the medical subjects, these are never taught in details and are limited to the Head and Neck region only. Also, there is presently ambiguity and marked difference of opinion on at which point of time the dental graduate will enter in the medical profession and what will be the tenure of such a bridge course. There is also a mention of these professionals being permitted to practice only in rural areas and if this is so, who will monitor the situation. Already the problems of quack practitioners are considered difficult to manage and then this additional work for the authorities.
The questions which arise in minds is (1) Will these so-called family physicians be considered adequately qualified to tackle health issues of the rural masses? (2) Will they be considered at par with the medical graduate counterparts? And if so, why they will not be able to practice in urban centres? (3) Will there be any takers for this bridge course? Because a dental graduate will already have put in 5 years for acquiring the dental qualification and an additional 3 or more years will be considered to be excessive. So, anybody who wishes to practice medicine will directly opt for medicine rather than taking the bridge course through dentistry. (4) If anybody is so interested in doing medicine why at the first instance, he or she will join dentistry? (5) Will the family physician be able to practice dentistry as well as medicine both together? (6) If such family physicians are restricted to practice only in rural areas, does it not indirectly mean they will be considered to be under qualified? Will such a condition not infringe the constitutional rights of the rural citizens of India in being deprived from quality health care for them? Will this not be considered as a bias in favour of the urban population? (7) What will be the syllabus and examination patterns for this bridge course and who will be responsible for implementing the same? (8) If numbers of the dental graduates passing every year is the central issue will it not be more justified in reducing the intake capacities and the number of institutes imparting dental education and which are lacking infrastructure and quality education?
These are some of the basic issues which need to be addressed on priority lest we all fail collectively as professionals. I certainly hope that the reasonable concerns will be taken note of and addressed to by the concerned officials and the issue addressed directly rather than messing up the already messed up situation, in the greater interest of the profession and the society.