Working as a Doctor in India and the UK - Dr. Bipin Jha

An account of the conversation between Dr. Bipin Jha, practicing GI-Surgeon and MedBoundTimes - Part 1
Dr. Bipin Jha, MBBS, MRCS, FRCS England
Dr. Bipin Jha, MBBS, MRCS, FRCS England

Welcome to another section of DocScopy, let us walk you through the Life journey & experiences of Dr. Bipin Jha.

This DocScopy session between Dr. Bipin Jha and Dr. Tanya Singh from MedBoundTimes tells us about the experiences of Dr. Jha while working as a medical practitioner in the UK and India & also, about his interest in politics and Philanthropy.

Dr. Tanya: Sir, kindly tell us something about your professional Journey.

Dr. Bipin Jha: I studied MBBS from Thanjavur Medical College in Tamil Nadu, India, and then went on to pursue MRCS and FRCS from The Royal College of Surgeons England. At the end of your training in the UK, you are required to take the FRCS exit exam, in which my declared sub-specialty was colorectal surgery, which is equivalent to a fellowship in the US, and MCH or DNB super-specialty degree in India.

Dr. Tanya: Kindly give us a brief insight into your journey as a medical practitioner in the UK, as it will help aspiring doctors.

Dr. Bipin Jha:  Sure, To work as a medical practitioner in the UK, there are many routes by which one can do so. The most common one and the one that I chose for doing Postgraduate training in the UK was giving the UK Medical licensing exam which is PLAB. First one needs to clear a language proficiency test i.e. IELTS, in which a minimum score of 7.5 bands in each component is required. After this one can give the PLAB- 1 exam which assesses your theoretical knowledge in all the clinical subjects, followed by the PLAB – 2 or OSCE (Objective Structured Clinical Examination) which assesses practical skills and knowledge. After passing all these 3 exams, one can apply for GMC (General Medical Council) registration. The other routes are giving exams like MRCS, MRCP, and USMLE.

Being passionate about colorectal surgeries, Dr. Bipin specializes in Gastrointestinal cancer surgery, upper GI surgeries (Esophageal and fore gut), laparoscopy, endoscopy, etc.]

Dr. Tanya: Sir, can you tell us something about your current medical practice?

Dr. Bipin Jha: I’m currently working as a consultant GI surgeon at Jay Prabha Medanta Super Speciality Hospital, Patna, Bihar, India. I’m a colorectal surgeon. I like doing varieties of surgeries and this specialty rightly offers me such opportunities, like surgeries or procedures by the old–fashioned open way and I do endoscopies as well. In the UK when you are trained as a GI surgeon, you get trained in endoscopy as well, so I can do upper GI endoscopy and various Endoscopic procedures. I also do general emergency surgeries

Dr. Bipin Jha, MBBS, MRCS, FRCS England
MGIMS- Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences

Dr. Tanya: How is the training procedure in the UK?

Dr. Bipin Jha: The training scenario in the UK is quite dynamic, it depends on the demand and supply so it keeps changing. But, getting into a structured training program in the UK is a tough job. It is not impossible but it has become somewhat more difficult than it used to be.

Dr. Tanya: Why did you choose to be a doctor?

Dr. Bipin Jha: Well in India, the usual scenario is that in high school everyone thinks of becoming a doctor or an engineer. So these 2 choices were imprinted on my mind by society, family, siblings, friends, and so on. Then in my 9th or 10th grade, I realized that I’m good at biology as compared to mathematics, as is the case with most doctors (being candid). So that’s how I started following my peers and realized that you can become a doctor by choosing biology. Then I started taking competitive examinations in which I succeeded and here I am today, a doctor (laughing).

I feel I’m doing something for the patients very actively and that fascinates me, as I feel that I’ve made a difference in their lives.
Dr. Bipin Jha

Dr. Tanya: What is that one thing that drives you as a doctor?

Dr. Bipin Jha: I think I like being proactive and surgery is something where your decisions and skills really make a difference in people’s lives and ailments, so I enjoy doing that. Suppose I have a patient with appendicitis, I operate on him/her and take their appendix out, then I have a patient with rectal cancer and I operate and take out the tumor, and the very next day the patient starts feeling better. Thus I feel I’m doing something for the patients very actively and that fascinates me, as I feel that I’ve made a difference in their lives.

I think providing high-quality care is a challenge in India because the definition of quality is different for every individual
Dr. Bipin Jha

Dr. Tanya: What is/are some of the most common or challenging situations in your field of practice, both in India and the UK?

Dr. Bipin Jha: I can share better about India as I’ve been practicing here for the past 1 year. I think providing high-quality care is a challenge in India because the definition of quality is different for every individual. And by quality here I mean the International healthcare quality standards. I want to treat my people in a similar way I was treating in the NHS, UK or like in the USA, and that involves a lot of technical & problem-solving skills as well as being a good communicator, team leader, etc. Such things are not yet a part of the curriculum in the Indian training system, so convincing people is a challenge that quality is different from what they presume. There is some sort of system rigidity as well, medical professionals are used to practicing in a certain way, and for them being flexible to new patterns is not easy, which needs to be changed

Dr. Bipin Jha, MBBS, MRCS, FRCS England
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Dr. Tanya: Can you please share an incidence or a clinical case that left an impression on you.

Dr. Bipin Jha: There are a lot of cases, but I would share the ones in particular that left both positive and negative effects on me.

I’ll talk about the negative incident first, which still pinches me. Early this year I lost a young lad, 28 years, who met a Road Traffic Accident, to post liver injury. He had severe grade liver injury, so we put him in the ICU. I operated on him twice, but eventually we lost him. That still pinches me because I lost a young lad. None of the previous patient’s death haunted me as much as this one. So, that drives me to do something better next time.

A positive incidence is, here in Medanta hospital I operated on a patient of sigmoid tumor, a type of bowel cancer. We did laparoscopic surgery on him, and laparoscopic surgery for cancer is still not that popular or advanced here in Bihar, so that was fascinating as patient outcome changes, they go home quickly and get back to their normal routines faster as compared to open surgery. There are a few other cases like when I had a patient of Persistent Urachus (discharge from belly button), which I operated on by laparoscopy. I found it very interesting as once a patient gets better and goes back to their normal lives faster, that makes me happy and satisfied.

Dr. Bipin Jha, MBBS, MRCS, FRCS England
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Dr. Tanya: How are you finding it here in Patna, as it has been more than a year of you practicing here?

Dr. Bipin Jha: Yesterday, it has been 13 months exactly on and off. But as my family is still in the UK, I've been flying back and forth between the UK and India every few months. At the moment I’m still kind-of in a work and holiday mode. It is satisfying in a way because I’m working for my own people. When I was giving quality care to people in England, every moment I would have this pinching thought that if I could give such quality care to my people in Patna, where there still aren’t such facilities, I wanted to see their reaction to it.

Dr. Tanya: Do you wish to go back to the UK? What are your future plans regarding this?

Dr. Bipin Jha: Currently I’m not intending on going back to the UK as a practitioner. But as my family is over there, it's a slightly difficult decision to make. As such I’m not thinking much on it as normally my plans don't work. So I just let my destiny decide for me, but mostly I’m here to stay.

Dr. Tanya: What made you come back to Patna as a practitioner?

Dr. Bipin Jha: The first time when I had this thought was in 2017, when I got to know that Medanta Groups has laid its foundation in Patna, Bihar. The very next day I ringed a doctor over here and shared my desire, which he was very welcoming of. Then as Medanta, Patna got established, I joined in October 2021, and that’s the story. I knew that Medanta would provide world-class infrastructure, and that was the only reason why I came back.

Dr. Tanya: What is the difference in practice or contours of medicine in the UK and India?

Dr. Bipin Jha: In the UK, the government setup is very strong. Almost 95% of the population opts for the NHS which is a government setup and very few go to the private hospitals, be it rich or poor. In India, the private and government setups are both equally developed, but it is somewhat disheartening when people go to private hospitals for better quality care. Also there might be some quality differences here as some people tend to opt for private rooms with facilities like television, nice food, etc. So I think the quality difference is massive in government and private institutions when compared in the UK and India.

Stay tuned for part 2 of the interview about his views on political and social issues in India.

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