New Delhi: The Association of National Board Accredited Institutions (ANBAI), a network of private hospitals offering Diplomate National Board (DNB) degrees, wants the Union government to help finance the stipend for the specialists.
The request comes amid efforts to boost the number of DNB-holders in the country and address their shortage. There are currently about 10,000 DNB seats in India, which the Union government wants to increase to 20,000.
The ANBAI sent its request to the Ministry of Health and the Niti Aayog in June, and claims to be awaiting their response.
Awarded by the National Board of Examinations (NBE), a DNB degree is equivalent to a postgraduate degree (MD/MS). Specialisation for DNB residents includes study in the subjects of cardiac anaesthesia, critical care medicine, and cardiology, among others.
Candidates seeking to pursue this course need to take the DNB Common Entrance Test in addition to NEET PG.
The majority of the DNB seats are reportedly in large private hospitals, while some are offered by state-run district hospitals.
In its letter to NITI Aayog member (health) Dr V.K. Paul, the ANBAI asked for the DNB residents’ stipend to be subsidised.
“This, as you are aware, is the main cause for hospitals limiting the number of seats, and will go a long way in smaller hospitals also starting new courses and increasing the number of students and subsequently specialists,” the letter said.
ThePrint reached Dr V.K. Paul over texts and call but did not receive a response. ThePrint also reached the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) over email but did not receive a response by the time of publishing. This report will be updated when a response is received.
Cost of DNB to hospitals
Dr Alexander Thomas, former president of ANBAI, said while DNB residents are talented specialists and their presence benefits hospitals greatly, their cost to the organisation is high.
“With the government bringing in several subsidies and insurance schemes, the revenue of private hospitals has drastically decreased. Keeping that in mind, the cost of hiring an increased number of specialist resident doctors is a steep expense which is difficult to uphold,” he said.
Thomas added that private hospitals are required to pay DNBs on a par with government resident doctors.
“In places like Delhi, where the salary of residents goes as high as Rs 80,000 to Rs 1 lakh, it is difficult for private hospitals to sustain large numbers,” he said, adding that a response to their letter is yet awaited.
DNBs were previously “not seen as equivalent to PG doctors”, said an Ahmedabad-based doctor who did not wish to be named.
“However, over the years, with the improvement in training, they are better qualified now. But the earnings on their admission are lesser for private hospitals as compared to that of UG/PG doctors,” the doctor added.
(Edited by Amrtansh Arora)