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We are a group of Pre-Registered Trainee gathered to express our concerns about some issues and what we feel is an injustice in regards to the introduction of the Pre-Registration Examination (PREE) which has been implemented by the Ministry of Health and Quality of life recently.

We have spent 5 to 6 years of medical studies and training in medical institutions which are recognised by both the Medical Council of Mauritius and the World Health Organisation. We were awarded our degree in Medicine and have decided to return to our home country so as to offer our service to the Mauritian population. We have applied for a temporary registration with the Medical Council of Mauritius and have also applied to the Public Service Commission, to which we have all received the approval of the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life to get enrolled as Pre-Registration Trainees in the different hospitals of Mauritius.

However, we wish to highlight the amendments brought to the Finance Bill through the Medical Council Act dated 7th September 2016: “The Medical Council Act will be amended to provide for a prospective doctor to be assessed before his enlistment as a pre-registration intern with a view to ensuring that he has the required knowledge, standard, skills and competence.” You may wish to know that we have registered ourselves with the Medical Council PRIOR to this amendment and we are currently being compelled to sit for this examination. We wish to draw your attention to the fact that this amendment which came into force on the 7th September 2016 is NOT an ex post facto amendment, and hence cannot have a retroactive effect.

Furthermore, we were not, at any moment, while going through the procedures for acquiring registration, been informed that there would be a Pre-Registration Examination. Some of us have been waiting for more than one year to get a seat for this internship, and we were never, at any given time during this year, been informed that we would have to sit for an examination. Albeit, having already obtained our degree, we are still relying on our elderly parents to sustain our daily expenses. The lack of information from Ministry of Health, and the miscommunication from the Medical Council, have lead us to rely on informal news through the media so as to obtain a glimpse of hope as to when we would finally be recruited.

On the 27th October 2016, we were informed by the Medical Council, by means of an information bulletin, that there would be an entrance examination for Pre-Registration Trainees which will be held on the 26th of November 2016, that is, in only one month. The syllabus given by the Medical Council included non-relevant themes for Mauritius such as ‘Courts of India’, ‘Health and Urban planning for India’ and ‘Dowry Death’, themes which are only valid for India. The Medical Council again changed the syllabus after some time, where it only removed the theme ‘Courts of India’ but left the themes such as ‘Dowry Death’ in the syllabus. We were flabbergasted by the lack of professionalism of the Council, and were appalled by the ruthless manner and time limit that we were given to study for that examination. We wish to draw your attention to the fact, Sir, that we are being given only one month to prepare what we have learned during these 5-6 years for that examination, which is in itself, not humanly possible.

Some of us have spent more than 2 million rupees of our parents’ hard earned money for our medical studies, whilst, many of us have taken huge debts to be able to finance our studies. We therefore find ourselves in a complicated situation, and this is why we were all eagerly awaiting to be recruited by the different hospitals in Mauritius as Pre-Registration Trainees.

Arguments in favor of the examination provided by both the Ministry of Health and the Medical Council of Mauritius, is that they have a duty to protect the population from substandard doctors. Albeit, we strongly agree and we would like to duly emphasise on the fact that interns DO NOT play any role in diagnosing and treating conditions and ailments, nor do they have the right to prescribe any medication to anyone. Interns, that is, Pre-registration Trainees, can only work under the tutorship of an experienced doctor, specialist or consultant, shadowing them and keeping an up to date record of the general condition of the patient. Therefore, the quality of healthcare received by the patients is in no way, dependent on the actions of the interns. The latter are merely in the hospital to acquire knowledge in clinical practice and on how to treat patients, and we believe that every intern should have the chance to accumulate that kind of clinical knowledge in hospitals.

Furthermore, the parliamentary committee of India stated that ‘The Medical council of India is largely responsible for corruption in Health care’ (Firstpost journal India; Apr 29, 2016 08:10 IST, article by Rakesh Bhatnagar; the wall street journal, Jul 18, 2014 4:30 pm IST: Indian health minister hon. Harsh Vardhan stating that the health industry is corrupt). On the information bulletin provided by the Medical Council of Mauritius, it is stated that ‘No queries will be entertained with regard to the eligibility and disclosure of results.’ (Information bulletin, Paragraph 2, Annex C. We find the lack of transparency from the Medical Council of Mauritius to be both puzzling and untrustworthy. 

In light of the current situation, we rely on the government to support and retain young graduates in Mauritius who wish to serve their country. We wish to make a humble appeal to the concerned authorities, to provide justice to our cause by applying the Law in a correct fashion, that is, by kindly requesting you to review and reconsider this decision so that the Pre-Registration Entry Examination be held only for those who have registered on or after the 7th of September 2016.

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