India has more specialists, needs general practitioners

India has more specialists, needs general practitioners

Indians need more general physicians to address most of their health problems but the country has more specialists than general practitioners, experts feel.

For a country which produces some 50,000 MBBS doctors a year, a majority 30,000 opt for speciality or super-speciality courses, Naresh Gupta of the cardiology department of the Maulana Azad Medical college said here.

Compared to other countries, India had more number of specialists, Gupta said, adding that the 398 medical colleges in the country produce more specialists.

He was speaking at a discussion on 'Specialisation and Super-Specialisation in Medicine-- the More the Merrier", organised by Consumers India along with the India International Centre Tuesday evening.

"We have a very good network system of health care but the functioning of that network is not very strong. For posts in primary health care centres, even specialists apply as it is a government job -- which is bad for both the patient and doctor.

"We have a large number of problems which can be addressed by a basic doctor or even less (qualified) than a basic doctor," Gupta said.He said that in a study on major illnesses faced by Indian men, it was found that diarrhoea was the most common ailment. "This can be easily treated by any general practitioner."

But in India, very few MBBS doctors go on to be general practitioners.Noted liver specialist S.K. Sarin of the Institute of Liver and Billiary Sciences here said there were not many good general practitioners in the country now.

"Specialists take on a lot of work which a good general physician can do," he said.
He recalled MBBS doctors of earlier days when a patient had full confidence in the family physician, who was consulted for all ailments.

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