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NEET PG 2023: AIR 1-100 pick general medicine, radiodiagnosis; few takers for surgery

NEET PG 2023 Counselling: In the 2023 NEET PG, among the top 100 rank holders, 28 chose radiodiagnosis, while 41 picked general medicine, as per the first allotment list. Only two candidates took surgery, which has been one of the traditional favourites among MBBS degree holders. Experts believe since surgery is a more demanding branch, and there is a surge in violence against doctors, there is a dip in popularity.

Almost a decade ago, getting a surgical speciality was considered prestigious, and the top rankers competed for the same. However, it has witnessed a significant drop in the past years. Five opted for MS surgery in 2020, eight in 2021 and one in 2022.

neet pg allotment result Almost 21 students out of the top 100 opted out of NEET PG counselling. (Graph by Abhishek Mitra)

President of the Federation of All India Medical Association (FAIMA) Rohan Krishnan explains that the cases of attacks on doctors, especially those who are surgeons or handling the emergency wards, are why postgraduate students are avoiding these branches. “With so many attacks on doctors in these recent years, many candidates prefer taking jobs where there is limited patient-doctor interaction. Departments like gynaecology, internal medicine, surgery or critical care deal with the patients and their families directly. If they are not happy with the treatment, sometimes they turn aggressive and start assaulting the doctors,” he said.

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Dr Sharad Kumar Agarwal, national president of the Indian Medical Association, echoes the same. “Some videos have gone viral of doctors beaten up by the patient’s family. Such untoward incidents are affecting PG students’ choices. Moreover, this generation is well-informed and knows which branch is witnessing growth. As technology and AI are reshaping the medical field, there is an increase in demand for radiologists,” he said.

The experts believe the rising demand for radiodiagnosis in every department, good remuneration and relaxed timings are key reasons this branch has become the most preferred choice.

Agarwal adds that such shifts in choice happen periodically. Therefore, the inclination towards radiodiagnosis is not surprising.

Also, when doctors hear reports of IIT students getting a pay package of Rs 1 crore, it further influences their choices.

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While the government pays an equal salary to all the doctors (in Delhi, it is around Rs 80,000-1 lakh), it varies in private hospitals. As per Agarwal, it is slightly tilted towards the radiologist and general medicine practitioners, however, that is not the only reason why radiodiagnosis is among the most-preferred branches.

A radiologist often needs to give less time to their job than those in other medical specialities, and it can offer a higher initial payout, explained Anubhav Garg, founder of ed-tech company Tab India which deals with NEET counselling. “While radiology might offer a lucrative start, general medicine doctors tend to have a broader scope of practice and opportunities for growth. In comparison, other medical fields like dermatology, gynaecology, dental, and orthopaedics might have more stable or broader patient bases, but factors such as insurance reimbursement, patient volume, and regional demand impact their compensation levels,” he said.

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Another branch that has picked up over the years is gynaecology, especially due to mushrooming of the IVF labs. However, only 2 out of the top 100 opted for gynaecology. “True that IVF labs might be fast picking but due to so many legal issues involved in this particular field, many MBBS holders refrain from entering this domain,” informed Krishnan. This branch might not be popular among the top 500, but it is opted by the later branches (after rank 800).

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