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Ban the Diabetologist

14 Jul, 14 | by sghosal

A recent news post from a reputed newspaper quoted a medical regulatory body and suggested that the physicians practicing as “Diabetologist” should be brought under the scanner. (1)

 What were the points in favour of such a move?

  • The Medical Council of a particular state in India feels that designating oneself as a “Diabetologist” is like “cheating the citizens.”(1)
  • Diabetes is a disease. How can we have a specialist for an individual disease? (1)
  • Only Endocrinologists (DM) & Internists (MD) should be eligible to treat diabetes (not those with MBBS). (1)
  • The diabetes diplomas acquired by the MBBS doctors are not MCI (Medical Council of India) recognized. (1)
  • They are not competent enough to deal with the complexities associated with this disease entity. The article goes on to nearly implicate them as a cause behind the increasing diabetes related deaths in India. (1)

A few questions

  • India has the second largest diabetes patient in the World after China. The State in the above-mentioned article experienced an alarming rate of increase in diabetes in the recent past.
  • Who is going to take care of them? There are approximately 600 MBBS, lesser MDs and 60 Endocrinologists in the State. (1) And how come a MBBS is not trained to tackle diabetes competently when he/she is licensed to undertake surgeries? Who is to blame if the MBBS is not qualified to tackle a disease of epidemic proportions? I think the same organizations raising the questions will have to take up the blame for not up-grading the teaching curriculum.
  • If the issue is all about complete ban on non-MCI approved degrees, why should it be so selective? Why there has been no questions raised about those specialists (non-diabetologist) practicing with degrees from the UK (MRCP, FRCS etc.) & US (AB)?

 Conclusion:

  • At a time when several countries like Japan are looking at supporting the “Diabetologist” with getting them board certified credentials and the ABCD (Association of British Clinical Diabetologists) expanding their membership & activities, the steps proposed by the State council seems out of place. (2,3)
  • A commentary in a reputed journal was looking into the issues related to poor interest of the physicians in pursuing a carrier in diabetes. (4) The ways and means of motivating, supporting and nurturing them were explored.
  • Yes, there is definitely a need to scrutinize and clamp down on courses with poor credentials. However those Universities and Organizations with credibility and Internationally certified courses should be allowed to train the physician.
  • The answer to the problems associated with a disease compared to the ‘Tsunami” in India lies in empowering the physicians and not discouraging them.
  • It would be interesting to note the views expressed by the prominent diabetes related organizations running the show (training and research) in India.

References:

 (1). Diabetologists’ under govt scanner. 2013. [Online] Available at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/Diabetologists-under-govt-scanner/articleshow/20564812.cms

[Accessed on 14th July 2014]

(2). Credentialing of Board Certified Diabetologists. Japan Diabetes Society (JDS). [Online] Available at: http://www.jds.or.jp/modules/en/index.php?content_id=25

[Accessed on: 14th July 2014].

(3). Association of the British Clinical Diabetologist (ABCD). [Online] Available at: http://www.diabetologists-abcd.org.uk/welcome.htm

[Accessed on: 14th July 2014].

(4). Wilmot E. The future role of the diabetologist. Pract Diab Int 2008; 25(8): 306.

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